FRONT ROYAL – William “Crazy Willie” Huck, the owner of C&C Frozen Treats, plans to open a second Main Street business with offerings including Cajun food, donuts and more.
"I'm bringing some Louisiana to Main Street," he said.
At the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority's Friday meeting, the authority’s board approved a $185,000 purchase contract with Huck for 506 E. Main St. The EDA purchased the building from former Warren County Supervisor Bernard Stokes' trust in 2014 for $398,218.
Huck said the deal will hopefully close within two weeks.
While Huck did not reveal too many details regarding his plans, he said over the phone it will incorporate themes from his home state of Louisiana with a menu including alligator kolache, beignets, bagels and donuts.
EDA Board Member Greg Harold said that Huck is bringing “a very unique and wonderful opportunity to the town" and that he has the energy and ambition to improve the east end of Main Street.
“I am very excited about the opportunity he is proposing to the community,” Harold said.
Upon moving to Front Royal, Huck said: “I knew I was home and you take care of your home when you get there.”
“Front Royal and Warren County is a beautiful place. I’ve said it a thousand times before, we have the best community in the entire world. I would not want to live anywhere else. I invested in this community 110 percent,” he said.
Huck added that this is an opportunity to enhance and grow the community.
“Main Street is a beautiful street and has lots of life in it, and we need more life in our community…And I thank you for the opportunity to make dreams a reality,” he said
EDA Executive Director Douglas Parsons has expressed his desire to sell the building many times, saying that it is not in any way the sort of property an economic development authority should own.
While excited to rid itself of the property, the board also discussed bleaker topics including attempts to complete its long-overdue 2018 audit. Parsons said the EDA should have all the necessary information to proceed soon and the authority’s long-time auditing firm Yount, Hyde & Barbour will need $17,500 to perform the audit. The audit has been delayed as the EDA continues untangling what it claims to be $21.3 million worth of embezzlement and questionable deals during the authority’s former Executive Director Jennifer McDonald’s tenure.
The board also discussed a long-stalled workforce housing project, one of those alleged embezzlement schemes. For that project, the EDA bought land at an inflated price from McDonald's relatives and sold it for $10. Harold noted that he recently met with representatives from Cornerstone, the company on the receiving end of the bargain deal.
Harold said the company’s representatives revealed new information regarding the project and he thinks the previous EDA board's handling of the deal “was nothing short of disgraceful.”
EDA Chairman Ed Daley cautioned Harold that he heard just one side of the story and it was "obviously their best side.”
Regarding Afton Inn renovations, another stalled project, Harold said the developer has provided a written commitment stating a desire to try and continue with the project.
The board also received another update on its current financial status, and it remains likely that the authority will run out of money by March and will need county assistance. Board Member Jeff Browne noted that the EDA and new Board of Supervisors seem to have a good relationship and he looks forward to working with them on economic development and cleaning up the past.
Browne noted after the meeting that while there are conspiracy theories that the board is attempting to cover up past ill deeds, the EDA remains vigilant in pursuing all financial improprieties and will turn any discoveries of wrongdoings over to the proper authorities.