The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

Orchard Town Center Announces Popular New Tenants

AP Newsroom
A Chick-Fil-A employee hands an order to a customer in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

Olive Garden’s parking lot has been full since February and Chick-Fil-A’s drive through line is never less than ten cars: after their respective openings, the EdGlen area has been buzzing with consumer excitement. But this new business is just the start. 

Home to the two new restaurants, the Orchard Town Center was announced to be welcoming at least six new businesses by 2026.

The plaza, developed by the Staenburg Group, was already set to add a Meijer, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Club Car Wash in addition to their already-in-operation businesses.

According to a speech from Tim Lowe, the group’s senior vice president of development, at last week’s Glen Carbon business appreciation event, the new group of establishments will now include a Panda Express and an Outback Steakhouse, along with a currently-unnamed hamburger chain.

In a survey of 53 EHS students, 52% said Panda Express is their favorite new addition to the Orchard Town Center. Dick’s took second place at 22%.

I like Dick’s Sporting Goods because they have the best Nike hoodies and clothes,” junior Grace Weis said. “It will be nice to not have to drive to Fairview for it.”

Weis wasn’t alone in her thinking – multiple students brought up the convenience of having these businesses so close to home.

I have no opinion on any of these businesses coming to Edwardsville, but my mom likes Outback Steakhouse,” junior Reyez Hangsleben said. “It will be the closest one near us, since other establishments are about an hour’s drive in any direction.”

While proximity is a plus for many, the new additions are also providing students at EHS with employment opportunities.

“I live in Holiday Shores, so I usually have to find jobs out there,” said senior Lily McClain, a host at the Glen Carbon Olive Garden. “But because Olive Garden is so close to school, I don’t have an issue getting to work on time – I work a lot of after-school shifts.”

McClain said the experience of opening a brand-new restaurant was something she couldn’t have experienced without the Orchard Town Center expansion. 

“I’m grateful for all the new businesses opening,” she said. “Besides work, it gives me more places to go. I can’t think of a single person who didn’t want a Chick-Fil-A in Edwardsville.”

But, of course, with the new development comes new record-high levels of traffic and the displacement of Glen Carbon’s wildlife, which some students are naturally more concerned with.

We’ve basically started turning into a Fairview Heights,” junior Rhianna Watters said. “I hate [that] they completely removed a tree nursery and turned it into a stupid complex even though, when sold, the contract stated that it was to remain a tree nursery.”

According to freshman Blake Chrenka, the additions to the plaza are becoming intimidating for a soon-to-be driver. 

“It’s more stressful pulling up to those stoplights when more cars are around, especially when someone is tailgating,” Chrenka said.

As of last week’s business appreciation event, none of the new establishments have a set opening date yet. Many students continue to look forward to the new construction, regardless. Others weigh the consequences of the invasive development. 

About the Contributor
Georgia Gaughan
Georgia Gaughan, Student Life Editor
Georgia Gaughan is a second-year journalism student at EHS. She is the student life editor for The Claw and Tiger Times Online. Outside of journalism, Georgia is the vice president of National Honor Society and enjoys planning homecoming with student council. Her favorite month is October and she will never pass up the opportunity to eat at a new Mexican restaurant. After high school, she hopes to major in finance at Purdue University but will continue to write for student publications in college.