Clancy’s was opened in 1965 in the small town of Noblesville, Indiana (Hamilton County). Carl Fogelsong joined with his original partner, Clarence Kathrens, to build one of the first double drive-though restaurants in the area. A simple, yet unique vision for the time, was one built upon the foundation of quality, value and cleanliness. The simple menu, and excellent product, were well received in the sleepy town which prompted the two to expand their footprint.
In 1966 Carl’s brother, Gale Fogelsong, joined the team. After careful searching, the brothers found a second location in Sidney, Ohio. With yet another successful opening, the brothers felt they had a formula for success and continued to expand its locations. Clancy’s proceeded to grow in the Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee markets throughout the sixties and mid-seventies until finally they reached a total of thirty Clancy’s restaurants. However, there was trouble on the horizon.
McDonalds came to the Midwest in the early seventies targeting cities with populations of 50,000 and higher. In the mid-seventies, however, they changed their desired parameters to smaller towns with populations of 15,000 and up. This opened the door for other similar competitors such as Wendy’s, Burger King, etc. to come into the same markets that Clancy’s had once held exclusively. Needless to say, by the late seventies, Clancy’s had begun to lose major marketshare, forcing the closure of many stores.
In 1975, Clancy’s became a forty percent owner of Egleston Enterprises. This was Clancy’s first venture into the “fine casual” dining market. Egleston Enterprises operated restaurants by the names of The State of INNdiana, North & South, and The INNterUrban. Clancy’s built and operated The INNheritance in Noblesville, Indiana. This 10,000 square foot building offered extremely fine dining and higher pricing. After the first year it became apparent that Egleston Enterprises was in trouble. As a forty percent partner, Clancy’s was not allowed to do the things it needed to do to “right the ship”. So in 1977, Clancy’s disassociated itself from Egleston Enterprises but maintained the Noblesville location. Finally it became apparent that the finer casual dining concept and higher prices were unsustainable in the still small Noblesville market; and the concept closed in 1979.
Perry Fogelsong (Carl’s son), started in the family business in May of 1981 after having graduated from the Indiana University Kelly School of Business with a major in marketing and a minor in advertising. After completing the company’s Management Training Program, he recognized an opportunity for growth. Why couldn’t the INNheritance property now closed and available for for sale or lease become the newest asset for the company? After carefully studying the market, Perry presented a detailed business plan to his father and other members of the executive team. The building would be repurposed for a casual theme dining experience boasting a broad menu and appealing to a wide spectrum of people: the average and the affluent including the factory workers of Firestone, corporate executives, and the population of the emerging new upscale neighborhoods.
Thus Grindstone Charley’s was born!
After successfully operating the first store in Noblesville for a year, Grindstone Charley’s began to expand — First to underperforming Clancy’s locations that could be transformed into the casual dining theme, and then to other locations that had already closed prior. In 1988, the first Grindstone Charley’s built from the ground up was located in Anderson, Indiana. By 1996, Grindstone Charley’s was operating thirteen locations in Indiana and Ohio and doing over 33 million dollars a year in sales. In the late nineties, however, a very similar competitive intrusion began in the Grindstone Charley’s markets with the appearance of the super chain restaurants such as Applebee’s, O’Charley’s, Texas Roadhouse, etc. This began a slow retreat of downsizing lasting until 2010.
Perry Fogelsong became President of Clancy’s, Inc. following his father’s retirement in 1997. And sadly, Carl Fogelsong, Perry’s father and the founder of the company, passed away in 2006 after a lengthy and courageous battle with cancer; and leaving a proud legacy of having been inducted into the Indiana Restaurant Hall of Fame.
Since 2010, store sales have stabilized; and in fact have grown approximately eight percent per year over the last four years (same store sales). In 2010 Perry’s son, Blake Fogelsong, joined the executive staff and has been an instrumental addition. With a degree in Marketing from Ball State University, Blake has added a new and timely focus on improved social media communication, locally sourced products, and continual commitment to quality products and service.
Clancy’s, Inc. is a strong family business that has successfully weathered through some very tumultuous storms over the past fifty plus years; and is poised for new growth. For over a year now, we have been looking for new potential sites for a Grindstone Charley’s. Having done the research and having identified a location, we feel that Westfield, Indiana is a natural for our next venture.
Currently we own and operate four Grindstone Charley’s Restaurant + Pubs (Kokomo, Lafayette, Speedway, Indy West), Michaelangelo’s Italian Bistro (Noblesville), and Clancy’s in Sidney, Ohio.
Check out our whole family of restaurants!