Shreveport, La.-based Sam’s Southern Eatery has opened at 1824 W. Waco Drive, continuing its surge into the Texas market with its slogan, “Home of the Jumbo Shrimp.”

The restaurant is located across Waco Drive from the old Sears building and near Antioch Church. Its menu includes po’ boy sandwiches and burgers; seafood plates of fish, shrimp, oysters, catfish and side orders; and chicken entrees of wings, nuggets, strips, gizzards and livers.

“We now have nine locations in Texas, and one planned for Killeen will be our 39th systemwide,” site developer Michael Fawzi said during a phone interview.

He said he began to weigh the merits of the local market following the success of a Sam’s that opened in Corsicana about seven months ago.

“We considered about 10 sites, but decided to go with this one because it seems convenient to everyone,” he said.

The 2,600-square-foot building previously served as the home of Adriana & Janette’s and Cancun restaurants, said Donna Dwyer, a real estate agent with Re/Max Centex Realtors who worked with Fawzi in his pursuit of a suitable location and helped secure a lease.

Sam’s will accommodate about 70 diners.

“But we welcome to-go orders,” Fawzi said.

Abatement contract

Waco-based ARC Abatement has won a “seven-figure” contract to remove asbestos from the Astrodome in Houston before it meets the wrecking ball.

The Astrodome, once home to the Astros and Oilers, opened in 1965 as the first multipurpose domed stadium and was dubbed “The Eighth Wonder of the World.” But the Astros moved to Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston, while the Oilers moved to Nashville and became the Tennessee Titans.

The Houston Texans joined the National Football League as an expansion team in 2002 and play at Reliant Stadium, which had been built adjacent to the Dome.

The Dome has been vacant since 2009, and voters recently rejected a $217 million bond to transform it into exposition space.

Ron Daniel, CEO and founder of ARC Abatement, said during a phone interview his company received approval from Harris County to proceed with asbestos removal in the dome. The structure covers 1 million gross square feet, he said, and remediation will take about 275 days.

“I have an office in Houston, one of four in Texas, but I probably will send another 10 support staffers from Waco down there,” Daniel said.

Daniel founded the company in 1990. It now has 260 employees and $21 million in annual revenue. Though work on the Astrodome project will enhance the company’s résumé, it is not the largest ARC has tackled.

“At Interstate 635 and Midway Road in Dallas, we will remove the asbestos from a Walmart store and 2,000 apartment units — 38 acres of buildings — for a demolition job that will make room for a new Walmart and Sam’s store,” Daniel said. “In fact, we do a lot of work for Wal-Mart Stores.”

In Cleburne, “we will demolish a square block of houses to make room for a new H-E-B,” he said.

ARC in Waco leveled a hotel and apartment complex to make room for Baylor University’s new $260 million football stadium at Interstate 35 on Lake Brazos.

Market testing

Shell Oil Co. has chosen the Waco-Temple area as one of two markets nationwide where it will test its new Shell Diesel FiT (Fuel Injection Technology).

The product will become available at more than 60 stations locally that market Shell products, said John Stewart, Shell’s diesel market manager in the United States. He said the petroleum giant is seeking customer reaction in a midsize market, as well as in the major metropolitan area of Seattle, Wash.

“We want feedback from light-duty consumers, those who drive pickups, for example, which are particularly popular in Texas,” Stewart said.

He said Shell will use billboards, radio advertising and on-site interviews to spread its message and gauge customer response.

“We should have enough information within six months to know how to proceed,” he said, “though we have no timeline for a national rollout.”

The new diesel formulation is supposed to prevent the buildup of gunk on fuel injectors and provide protection against corrosion and wear.

Stewart said Shell has launched its campaign to differentiate its product from others in the market and determine the public’s perception of the Shell brand.

“Bottom line, we want to see if we can increase sales volume,” said Stewart, who noted that registration of diesel vehicles nationwide has increased 24 percent in two years.

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