Alumnus Moving College-Friendly Business to Mercer Village

July 21, 2008

Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

MACON — Mercer alumnus Carl G. Fambro will be moving his restaurant, Francar’s Buffalo Wings, to Mercer Village in January, adding another college-friendly business to the growing stable of student-friendly offerings across from the Macon campus. The business will relocate into a building in Mercer Village that includes the Georgia Public Broadcasting studios, between Montpelier and Coleman avenues. Renovation will begin in the next few weeks and the restaurant is expected to be open when students return from the Christmas break.

The relocation is a part of efforts by the University and the College Hill Corridor Commission to revitalize the areas around the University and into downtown. Francar’s will be the third college-friendly business to locate in Mercer Village, a retail area directly across from campus. Ingleside Village Pizza opened its second location there in April and Jittery Joe’s, a coffee shop, will open in the fall.

“Carl Fambro is a Mercer graduate, a former major from the Army and has been in business a long time.  We’re glad to have him in Mercer Village,” said James Netherton, Ph.D., Mercer’s executive vice president for administration and finance.  “As word has gotten out that Francar’s is coming, a number of students have stopped me on campus to tell me how excited they are that their favorite wing place is moving across the street.”

Fambro, a 1978 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and a member of the ROTC program, will be relocating Francar’s from its Log Cabin Drive location to centralize his business. The restaurant will be closer to Mercer students and organizations, long a constituency. The move keeps him near existing customers and still moves his business 10 minutes closer to the thriving business areas downtown.

“I’m looking forward to the move,” Fambro said. “I enjoyed my time at Mercer, and I’ve always enjoyed my interactions with students – who always supported me as a fellow Mercerian. This is a chance for me to be back to Mercer. I’m really looking forward to being a part of Mercer Madness, basketball games and Homecoming. I’m hoping our business becomes an extension of Mercer University for the students.”

A thriving restaurant for 15 years at its current location, Francar’s serves 28 different wing sauces, as well as sandwiches and salads. Fambro said he will likely add three new wing sauces and more selections to his sandwich and salad menu after he moves.

“The College Hill Corridor Commission is pleased to welcome Francar's wings to Mercer Village,” said Josh Rogers, director for College Hill Corridor Commission. “Owners Carl and Sharon Fambro serve up some of the best hot wings in Middle Georgia.  Francar’s is locally owned and family operated, and it will be a great place to grab a good meal, meet new friends and enjoy Mercer sports on TV.  With Mercer memorabilia already decking their walls, it only makes sense for these spirited fans of the Bears to be moving across the street from campus.”

The College Hill Corridor Commission was established by the city of Macon and Mercer University to create a physical, cultural and social path to connect Mercer University and downtown. Part of that process has been working with Mercer to chart the future of Mercer Village, a historic neighborhood commercial center that is currently underutilized.  The Commission has held two community design charrettes with leading college town planners to explore possibilities.  The Commission has reached a community consensus that Mercer Village must be a beautiful place.  The Commissioners also believe that the Village should consist of traditionally designed buildings with mixed uses such as student housing and retail.  Finally, the Commission is prioritizing “college town cool,” locally owned, unique tenants that invite both students and neighborhood residents to eat, shop, relax and interact.

The College Hill Corridor Commission recently received a grant from the Community Foundation of Central Georgia to develop a master plan for Mercer Village.  That initiative will be augmented by a $250,000 Knight Foundation planning grant that was awarded to Mercer last month to formulate a business plan for a College Hill Alliance and to create a master plan for the entire corridor. Inspiring ideas such as new infill buildings, roundabouts, student housing, coffee shops, bookstores, porches and even a market could be part of this plan.

About the College Hill Corridor Commission:
The College Hill Corridor Commission is a diverse commission formed by the City of Macon and Mercer University to create a pedestrian and bike-friendly path between Mercer University and downtown. Along the way, the Commission intends to add economic value to the city's tax base, beautify residential and commercial areas, attract and retain creative young professionals and program fun public events. For more information, visit www.collegehillcorridor.com.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.

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