What might be Native America’s first Hooters Restaurant is setting up shop on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Reservation, which spans over 50,000 acres in Scottsdale, Arizona, in the metropolitan Phoenix area.
The tribes’ Community Regulatory Agency approved the Hooters lease in February and its liquor license in late April. The franchise has put the call out for job applicants, and plans to open this fall. According to tribal code, an Indian hiring preference will be enforced.
A Hooters is a first for Indian Country in Arizona, home to 22 tribes. There’s no guarantee it’s a first for Indian Country nationally, but a search revealed no evidence of any others.
The restaurant will open its doors in a 7,200-foot space formerly occupied by a Chinese restaurant at The Pavilions at Talking Stick, a leased property on the reservation. A Buffalo Wild Wings is also gearing up for opening day; both restaurants are able to move in only because the two-tribe community removed a ban on liquor sales two years ago.
The 1 million-square-foot Pavilions at Talking Stick shopping center is owned and managed by the largest retail brokerage firm in Arizona, the Phoenix-based De Rito Partners, Inc. Stan Sanchez, president of the firm, said a Hooters restaurant of this size could be expected to gross around $3 million a year.
The business is one of several new arrivals that could help revitalize the 20-year-old shopping center, which has seen increasing vacancies in recent years.
Tribal spokeswoman Janet Johnson declined to release tribal earnings projections for the business, , but she did say the new restaurants will help populate an already diverse business portfolio.
“SRPMIC has marketed the area as an emerging destination area with Talking Stick Golf Club, Talking Stick Resort, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and The Pavilions at Talking Stick,” she said.
Johnson added that the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community “is known for several firsts, including the first Native community to host the first Major League Baseball spring training facility for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.”