Niagara Gazette

Features

January 16, 2011

Islanders storm Mighty Taco’s grand opening

GRAND ISLAND — There were campers sleeping in the parking lot overnight, waiting for the new Mighty Taco to open on Grand Island. Company officials had never seen anything like that before.

“It was the most successful opening we’ve ever had,” said Russ Jasulevich, chief operating officer of the 40 year-old company.

A few excited fans even put up a tent in the parking lot the night before the grand opening, because they wanted to be first in line. Throughout opening day the lines were all the way to the front door. Throughout opening week long lines of cars moved slowly through the drive-in lane.

The taco lovers on Grand Island finally got their way just recently when Might Taco opened a new restaurant in the plaza on Grand Island Boulevard.

The welcome impressed the Mighty Taco officials who spent opening day greeting customers.

“The response from Grand Island has been unlike anything we've seen anywhere for any openings,” said Jasulevich. The company is owned by Daniel Scepkowski, who created the popular franchise, a favorite of young people for its hip attitude and inexpensive Mexican food, about 40 years ago.

Jasulevich said that the company decided to open a store on Grand Island after results of a survey on the island website, isledegrande.com, when 2,188 people voted yes to the idea of a Mighty Taco.

The website publisher, Reg Schopp, created the website in 1997, after his jewelry company built a server to facilitate worldwide sales of his product. In 2009 the Grand Island news website was asked by the Grand Island Economic Development Board to do a survey about the taco restaurant. On Jan. 3, the survey results came to life with the new store, the 18th in the Mighty Taco local chain.

“They lured us to the island and boy, they certainly make good on their promise if you build it they will come,” Jasulevich said.

“We stood in the dining room and greeted a lot of people as they were coming and going,” he said. “Just the mutual appreciation, and the people saying ‘thank you for coming to the island’ was really refreshing.”

Might Taco employs about 650 people throughout Western New York and about 40 people per store, including the Grand Island store.

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