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Tiffany Montgomery
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Wahoo's - Chipotle flap, part II

By Tiffany Montgomery
November 16, 2007 5:47 AM

There's new debate on the Wahoo's/Chipotle issue at the Irvine Spectrum Center.


I was interviewing the president of the Irvine Company's retail division, Keith Eyrich, for an OC METRO story, and asked him about the Wahoo's/Chipotle flap.


Keith EyrichKeith Eyrich, president of the
Irvine Company’s retail division.

Keith told me his company's obligation is to provide lots of choices to people coming to the center, especially with the office buildings and apartments going up around The Spectrum.


"Wahoo's is a great retailer," he said. "They are very good for the county, they are home grown. I think they will continue to do great volume here. ... I think it all works out in the end. It's a little competition, but that's healthy."


I ran that by Wahoo's co-owner Wing Lam, and he said he was sure big retailers at the center like Nordstrom and Target wouldn't want a competitor next to them.


I asked him if his sales numbers have gone down at the Spectrum, but he was on his way to the Baja 1000 race and didn't have them at his finger tips. I'll check in with him when he gets back.


I did swing by the Wahoo's at lunch recently to see if they were still busy and there was a line out the door. Hopefully, that's a good sign the restaurant is still going strong.


In case you missed the first story, Wing told me he was angry at the Irvine Company for putting his biggest competitor, Chipotle, close to him at the Irvine Spectrum Center. Especially since his lease has a non-compete clause that prevents him from opening another Wahoo's in a three-mile radius of the center.


The OC METRO story that includes Keith Eyrich's outlook on holiday shopping at the Spectrum comes out Nov. 22. Here's a link.


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