City’s craving for Chipotle inspires campaignMyron Bailey says he heard it again and again from residents during last fall’s mayoral campaign, squeezed between worries about water quality and taxes.
By: Jon Avise, South Washington County Bulletin
Myron Bailey says he heard it again and again from residents during last fall’s mayoral campaign, squeezed between worries about water quality and taxes.
“‘We want a Chipotle,’” Bailey says he heard from voters. “They would mention it specifically.”
Chipotle Mexican Grill, the popular fast-casual Mexican food chain that specializes in big, aluminum foil-wrapped burritos, is a hit across the country — more than 800 locations are open in the United States and Canada, according to the company’s Web site.
There are Chipotle restaurants as near as Woodbury (where, tauntingly, there are two), West St. Paul and Hastings. And Cottage Grove wants one, too.
Just one problem: “They said they’re not interested,” Bailey says city officials were told.
But Bailey, city council member Justin Olsen and local real-estate broker Craig Patterson believe they can use that palpable public desire for the popular burrito joint to change the minds of Chipotle’s corporate officials.
The three are spearheading a letter-writing campaign, an effort, Bailey said, to get all those avowed burrito fans to flood Chipotle’s Denver corporate offices and Web site inbox with the message that Cottage Grove could indeed support one of the company’s restaurants.
It’s a method that has seen some success locally. Target Corp. told city officials in the early 1990s that Cottage Grove wasn’t an ideal location for one of the ubiquitous discount retail stores.
A letter-writing push from local residents, though, convinced Target officials otherwise.
Cottage Grove likely doesn’t have the lunchtime crowd of many other areas that Chipotle restaurants call home, Bailey admits. But with a large high school that lets seniors leave campus for lunch — and experience with a high school-age son who says he’d eat there every day — he doesn’t think a Chipotle restaurant would be hurting for business in south Washington County.
Bailey — himself a regional manager in the retail business — said an effort like a letter-writing campaign is something higher-ups in the retail world pay attention to. And it’s something he believes can work again to lure a hotly desired restaurant to variety-starved Cottage Grove.
“Let’s start out with something like this,” Bailey said, “and see if we can get the ball rolling.”