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The two midstate locations of T.J. Rockwell’s have joined the Funck family of restaurants, a Lebanon County-based conglomerate of establishments that includes the Rising Sun, two Snitz Creek Brewery locations, and two Funck’s locations.
It’s the first-ever double acquisition for owner Alan Funck, who told LebTown on Tuesday that the deal had been in the works for the past couple of years.
T.J. Rockwell’s has two locations, its original spot in Elizabethtown (800 Mount Gretna Road), opened in 1997 and later renovated to include a massive deck, and a second location in Mechanicsburg (896 W. Grantham Road), which opened in 2008.
Funck said no major changes are planned for the restaurants, with a couple of minor changes already in the works, like new point-of-sale systems and integration into the company’s shared reward and gift card programs. Both locations will have been onboarded to these programs by the end of the month, said Funck, allowing customers to use the same gift cards across all of the aforementioned establishments. You might even see some Snitz Creek beer available at Rockwell’s eventually.
Funck said that he was interested in the restaurants due to their good locations and similarity with his existing establishments.
Rockwell’s went “from a tiny little place in Elizabethtown to one of the more popular, well-known restaurants in Central Pennsylvania,” he said. “They have a really big customer base and a really strong business already.”
According to a 2015 Lancaster Newspapers profile, the name TJ Rockwell’s is half homage to Norman Rockwell and half a shoutout to founders Steve and Jeff Heckman, whose nicknames were “T” and “J” as kids – “J” for Jeff” and “T” for the sound their sister made when trying to say “Steve,” according to LNP.
Funck said the Heckmans were “very good operators” and “really good guys,” and that he plans to keep the restaurants running the way they had been under the Heckmans’ leadership, and also retaining existing management teams.
After a series of acquisitions over the past several years, including Snitz Creek Brewery, the Quentin Tavern, and the Mount Gretna Hideaway, Funck said although he might pursue additional expansion in the future, there’s nothing on the agenda at the moment. For now, he’s busy bringing the two Rockwell’s locations into the fold, and preparing for warmer weather.
“I’ve never added two locations at the same time, so that’s a bit of a learning curve as well,” he said.
With the Elizabethtown deck expected to be a popular destination for outdoor dining as temperatures heat up and coronavirus concerns diminish locally, T.J. Rockwell’s is currently hiring new staff to help with those much-anticipated spring and summer happy hours.
Find more information about available jobs at T.J. Rockwell’s, as well as hours and menus, at their website.
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