WASILLA — The iconic Sonic Drive-in will open its first franchise in Alaska in the fall of 2019, bringing its unique menu with over 1,000,000 drink combinations to The Shoppes at Sun Mountain when they open for Labor Day in September.
“I think it’s great that Sonic is coming to Wasilla,” Wasilla Mayor Bert Cottle said.
Cottle has never been to a Sonic Drive-in. Valkyrie Security owner Larry Clark helped usher the franchise into a deal with Cameron Johnson and The Shoppes at Sun Mountain. Clark has a suggestion for Cottle.
“First time at Sonic he’s going to have to order a cherry limeade and a new steakhouse burger or a footlong cheese coney with a large order of tots,” Clark, who noted Sonic’s vast number of drink combos, said.
Construction on Sonic will begin once spring breakup is over, and Johnson hopes to have Sonic finished in time for Labor Day. The Sonic location expects to employ 50 to 60 people, and Sonic will even be working with the Nine Star Education program at MyHouse to get more employees.
“We’re going to get some employees there to get some homeless teens a hand up instead of hand out, get them trained and put them to work,” Clark said.
Sonic will be a 2,700-square foot facility on three quarters of an acre of land at The Shoppes at Sun Mountain, and includes a dining room to go with it’s distinct canopied drive-in. Clark says that they expect to have ‘carhops’ (employees who bring food to the cars parked under the canopy) deliver food on roller skates during the summer months.
“Ice skates I doubt will happen,” Clark said.
Clark and Johnson hope to expand Sonic to Fairbanks and Anchorage, eventually. Johnson is happy to break ground on the first Sonic in the state of Alaska.
“There’s most definitely a sense of pride there to bring the very first Sonic to the state of Alaska and more importantly to bring it to Wasilla. I know there’s a lot of upset people in Anchorage that it’s not coming there,” Johnson said.
Johnson said that Sonic has been trying to come to Alaska for nearly a decade, and is confident that Sonic will bring lots of business to The Shoppes at Sun Mountain.
“There’s a lot of things on the sonic menu you can’t find anywhere else from any other fast food franchise. People have been clamoring to bring Sonic to Alaska for years,” Johnson said.
Johnson and Clark hooked up after doing previous business together.
“I currently own Valkyrie security and do a lot of security work for H5. We work with Cameron, his company and that’s kind of how this all came together. I was talking to Cameron about the site to build on and the broker and everything just kind of lined up,” Clark said.
Clark shares a similar sense of pride in being able to bring the first Sonic franchise to Alaska.
“I’m a Valley resident, lived here for 13 years. I just wanted to see it in my hometown first,” Clark said. “I hope to bring Sonic to Anchorage and Fairbanks down the road.”
Clark has been watching the explosion of posts on social media about the excitement surrounding Sonic. Clark hopes that anyone who has had a bad experience with Sonic in the Lower 48 will not hold that against him.
“Give us a try see if we can earn you back as a customer,” Clark said.
While Alaska has a distinctly unique variety of inhabitants, Sonic is similarly unique in the fast food world.
“In Alaska we consume a lot of ice cream, especially during the winter. One of the things Sonic going to bring is variety compared to what we already have. Alaskans that never traveled outside, bringing sonic to Alaska will give Alaskans that have been here their whole life that unique experience,” Clark said.
Sonic began in Oklahoma 65 years ago and currently has locations in 45 of the 50 states.
Contact Frontiersman reporter Tim Rockey at firstname.lastname@example.org.