Current and former NBA stars buy 30 St. Louis area Wendy’s restaurants


bridgeman-billupsSeven years after nearly all its local stores were closed, Wendy’s is marking a new chapter for the hamburger chain in the St. Louis area.

Wendy’s, the maker of Frosty ice cream desserts and square hamburgers, has sold all 30 company-owned restaurants in the area to former professional basketball player Junior Bridgeman and Chauncey Billups, a Detroit Pistons point guard, St Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The sale, which closed Monday, comes as Wendy’s is investing in new menu items and a revamp of its decor and branding. Financial terms of the sale to Bridgeman and Billups’ group, BB St. Louis LLC, were not disclosed.

Monday’s sale of 29 current area Wendy’s stores and one under construction in Chesterfield leaves Wendy’s with no area company-owned stores. Seven other area franchisee-owned Wendy’s stores are not part of the sale.

Bridgeman, who spent most of his basketball career with the Milwaukee Bucks before his NBA career ended in the late 1980s, said he saw potential for sales growth in the St. Louis market.

Bridgeman appeared in 849 NBA games, and holds career averages of 13.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg and 2.4 apg in 25 mpg.

A frequent visitor to St. Louis, the Louisville, Ky., resident became a Wendy’s franchisee while a professional athlete. Bridgeman now owns or holds an ownership stake in 196 Wendy’s, making him Wendy’s second-largest franchisee.

In the St. Louis venture, Bridgeman partnered with Billups, who’s making his foray into the restaurant industry.

As part of the sale, BB St. Louis is required to adopt Wendy’s new design elements, meaning more makeovers are in store.

“Every brand has to stay relevant to the consumer and has to keep re-inventing themselves,” Bridgeman told the Post-Dispatch. “For a number of years, we didn’t do that, but the new management said it’s time to do that.”

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