Sonic signs franchise agreement with Native American tribe


As part of Sonic Drive-In’s strategy to develop new franchises in rural markets, the company has reached an agreement with the Wyandotte Nation, an Oklahoma-based Native American tribe, to open its first unit in Seneca, Mo.

“The Wyandotte Nation brings an appetite and acumen for operating businesses with high consumer appeal that create new jobs and stimulate business growth. They know the community desires the Sonic experience, and with our unit economics, Sonic is the perfect business opportunity,” said Cliff Hudson, chairman, CEO and president of Sonic Corp. “We also feel a personal connection because both Sonic and the Wyandotte Nation have their roots in Oklahoma. Native American tribes represent a very important part of our community here in the heartland, a significant business driver in our region and a contributor to economic activity and job creation nationwide.”

The new restaurant is slated to be built and open for business at 2314 Cherokee Ave., by the fall, adding to a portfolio of small businesses developed by the Wyandotte Nation. These businesses span multiple industries including foodservice, telecommunications, information technology, precision manufacturing and entertainment.

“We have looked at several concepts. What eventually brought us to Sonic was the opportunity to become part of a very recognizable brand,” said Kelly Carpino, CEO of the Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma. “The effectiveness of Sonic’s media and promotional strategy along with an amazing product line drew our attention to the franchise. The decision was solidified by Sonic’s new small building prototype that is a perfect fit for smaller, secondary markets.”

This marks the first development agreement with a Native American tribe for the Sonic system.

Tribal court, Wyandotte Nation

To view video click image
To view video, click image.

By Jennifer Penate

May 23, 2013 on

WYANDOTTE, OK.— Wyandotte Nation is now holding criminal court every month.

“Establishment of tribal courts is essential to obtaining and maintaining tribal sovereignty,” said Jon Douthitt, Judge.

Jon Douthitt is the presiding judge. This is the second court he’s helped establish in the four states, following Quapaw. He says there’s one main challenge.

“Anything you do without proper jurisdiction is subject of being voided or attacked,” said Douthitt.

“I think that’s one of the complicated and convoluted issues of Indian law, is what is jurisdiction,” said Geri Wisner, Prosecutor.

Geri Wisner is the court’s prosecutor. She will only handle tribal code violations committed by a Native Americans.

“I will not be forwarding anything to the state unless it was a non-Indian suspect on a crime,” said Wisner.

However, the federal government will have jurisdiction over major crimes like murders. Wyandotte Nation Chief Billy Friend says having this court in place is momentous, allowing the community to prosper.

“Just gives us the opportunity, as far as collecting fines and fees instead of them going to the state or county government, it actually comes back to the tribal government,” said Chief Billy Friend, Wyandotte.

Chief Friend’s ultimate goal is to establish an appellate and supreme court. Wisner says her mission is to talk to elders about how issues were handled traditionally. The goal is find a way to help offenders rather than issuing them fines or jail time.