Kenney's to Carry on Tradition in New Building
The Lexington News-Gazette
Tuesday, June 6, 2000
Section: Business
Lexington, VA
By Robin Floyd, Staff Reporter

Every order will still be served piping hot and made to order. Fried chicken and sauce burgers will still be on the menu. Call-ins will still be ready when you get there.

Kenney's in Buena Vista is still the same Kenney's it has been for the last 37 years. It's simply being brought up to date so it won't be left behind in the new millennium.

"It's like going to Florida in a 1963 Chevrolet", owner Steve Slagle expained. "Would you liketo go in a '63 or 2000 model car? It's just being updated."

Slagle explained that he and is wife Beth decided to rebuild the downtown landmark to secure their future in the fast food industry. "To stay in business, you have to change", Slagle said. "We do apologize [for the loss of a landmark], but our future is Kenney's."

The new building will be run much like the old, only improved with the addition of a drive-through window. But Slagle asks that customers be patient with him and his employees until they get the hang of this new technology. "Don't expect us to be like Burger King or Hardees", he said. "It's going to take us some time to get used to it."

But Slagle also stressed that the quality of inside service will not suffer due to the new drive-through window. In order to maintain his inside service, Slagle said that there might have to be some limitations as to what can be ordered through the drive-through.

Kenney's is made to order", he said. "It's worked for 37 years and been successful. That will not change."

While most people are excited about the updated Kenney's, Slagle said that he's heard a lot of negativity about tearing down the building, which many locals consider to be a landmark. But Slagle said that their decision ti rebuild was influenced by other factors, namely the proposed U.S. 501-route change in Buena Vista and repeated flood damage.

We've always been prone to what we call 'nuisance floods'", Slagle explained. Although flood damage has been greatly reduced since the building of hte floodwall, Slagle realizes that Kenney's location will always create potential flood danger for the business. He wants the new building to be as flood-proof as possible.

The new building's floor is 16 inches higher from the ground than the old building and has four feet of architect block up the sides of the structure. "That gives me six feet", Slagle said. "If we get more than six feet, Buena Vista's in trouble anyway."

Kenney's was open on August 13, 1963, by Roy and June Southers. Slagle said that they are shooting for that same date this year [2000] to be the opening of the new Kenney's. "We thought that would be neat --to open it up on the same date", he said. "It was a good date for Roy and June to be successful."

Once the new building is complete, Kenney's will be shut down for two weeks in order to move everything, tear down the old building and repave the parking lot.

"the heart of this operation is Roy and June Southers", Slagle said. "They're the ones who put the hard work into this. Beth and I are just carrying on the tradition."

Copyright June 6, 2000

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