logo
BUY A KEWPEE T-SHIRT TODAY!
only $8.95!
shim
Home
shim
Free Email - you@kewpee.com
shim
Downtown Racine Pictures and Projects
shim
Kewpee Merchandise
shim
Kewpee History
shim
Pictures of the New Kewpee
shim
Menu
shim
Links
shim
Guestbook
shim
Send us your comments
shim
div
Email Login
username:

password:

Wendy's Founder, Dave Thomas, and the Kalamazoo Kewpee

This from WWMT, Freedom Broadcasting of Michigan, Inc. on the death of Wendy's founder, Dave Thomas, Jan. 8, 2002.

KALAMAZOO (NEWS 3) – Former Kalamazoo resident and Wendy’s restaurants founder Dave Thomas is being remembered after his death Monday night. Famous for his TV commercials, the 69-year-old Thomas had long battled kidney disease. Thomas hatched the concept of Wendy’s in Kalamazoo, where he lived as a child.

Thomas was born in 1932 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Six weeks later, he was adopted by a Kalamazoo couple, Rex and Auleva Thomas. His stay in Kalamazoo was brief, but memorable.

Thomas lived near the intersection of Douglas and Kalamazoo Avenue. He attended Woodward Elementary. Thomas used to love eating at Kewpee’s restaurant, which stood at Burdick and South in Kalamazoo. He later said it’s what inspired him to go into the business.

Kewpee’s sold square hamburgers and thick malt shakes, much like that famous restaurant that Thomas eventually create in Ohio in 1969.

Thomas came back to Kalamazoo in 1974 to establish the first Wendy’s in Michigan with franchise owner William Van Domelen. “I would describe him as one of a kind,” says Van Domelen.” He has always been a giver and cares about other people.”

Van Domelen says Thomas had an incredible memory and a knack for success. “Dave always knew the people in his restaurants and had a great business sense. One of the things he said is, don’t be greedy. Don’t overcharge the customers and treat your employees well.”

Van Domelen later left Wendy’s to start up the Hot ‘n Now franchise. And even though they were competitors, Thomas would joke to his old friend, “How are those ‘Cold and Old’ stores doing?’

Van Domelen says one of Thomas’ favorite sayings was also a simple one: Get the order right.