At first, Sonic's corporate office was skeptical that there would be enough business to support a drive-in on the main drag in Shattuck, a community of about 1,400 people in Ellis County, but Girton persuaded the company, he said.
“This town is really a hub for all of the little communities surrounding it,” said Girton, who grew up in the area around Shattuck.
Business at the 18-stall Sonic in Shattuck is bolstered by workers from the booming oil and gas sector in Western Oklahoma, as well as the area hospital, Girton said.
When deciding whether there will be enough traffic in an area to support a new Sonic location, the company looks not just at population, but also at the bigger picture of what is going on in the local economy and the traffic passing through the area.
“We try to look at the key driver of the area,” Gallagher said. “We look at each town on its merits and its vibrancy.”