by Jim Smilie

Drivers using the service road along MacArthur Drive near the intersection with Castle Road are well acquainted with long delays, especially around lunch and dinner time as drivers line up to use the drive thru at Raising Cane’s.

The good news is those delays are about to disappear as the restaurant is expanding its parking lot and drive-thru lanes thanks to a neighbor’s willingness to relocate their business.

“It was a problem off and on,” explained Tracy Thames, a managing partner of the Auto Parts & Supply NAPA store that was next door to the restaurant. The Thames family owned both sites and was leasing the land to Raising Cane’s. “Then, when the pandemic hit and people could only use the drive-thru, it got really bad to where they had to bring in police to direct the traffic,” he said.

Thames said the owners of Raising Cane’s had talked about buying the land the NAPA store occupied, but the family was pleased with the location their store had occupied since 1998. As the traffic situation got worse last year when the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in restaurants having to close their dining rooms and only provide drive-thru or to-go pickup, Raising Cane’s owners increased their efforts to acquire the extra space.

“As it turned out, we learned the Journey Church site was available, and that was a place on MacArthur Drive we were willing to relocate,” Thames said. “We weren’t looking to move, but the way things have worked out, maybe that is what God intended for us to do.”

This week, Raising Cane’s opened a new drive-thru lane that utilizes the former NAPA site and they are now renovating the original parking area. Officials estimate the project will be completed with the renovated parking lot and drive-thru lanes in full operation by mid-August. “I am grateful to the Thames family and to the other leaders who made this solution possible,” said Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “Our local businesses care about our community, and this is just another example of how we can all make progress when we work together.”

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