I vaguely remember Sandy's, although the fin designs of the early buildings I have seen many times in places from Dayton to Dubuque and Great Falls without realizing their heritage, especially in the case of Zandy's in Great Falls (I lived there from 1994-98!).
I grew up in the "Sandy's central" area, a.k.a. Dayton, Ohio from 1966-80 and again in 1984-85, and our family regularly frequented Dayton locations #14 and 15 (which were zoned in West Carrollton's Zip Code, 45449, even though #15, 101 S. Heineke Rd. @ OH 725, was actually in Miamisburg 45342). #14's location at Alex-Bell @ Springboro Pike (OH 741) was ideal for West Carrollton Senior High School's students, being less than half a mile from campus, and #15 was right at the western edge of the 725 expressway, just a few miles from I-75 and the Dayton Mall (built in the mid-1960's).
By the time my memory was taking in details like fast food restaurants (around 1972), all the Dayton area Sandy's had converted to Hardee's, but that association was very brief. By 1974-75, the Hardee's franchisee in Dayton had converted them all to Arby's, and it wouldn't be until Hardee's purchase of Burger Chef from General Foods (NOT Pillsbury, who owned Burger King) that Hardee's would return to the Gem City.
I know that as of my last visit to Dayton in 1999, #15 was still operated as Arby's with minor redesigns, and I think #14 was by then a Wendy's since Arby's built a new location right up the street, at 5770 Springboro in the '90s. In my childhood and early teens in the '70s, they were still using the original Sandy's fourth-generation maxi buildings and second/third-generation A-frame signs, twice modified (first to Hardee's, then to Arby's). #15 is still Arby's at the same address, and properly zoned in Miamisburg. #14 is now vacant. Street view snapshots attached. :-)
1) The reason why I think Dayton had such a large number of Sandy's locations was due to Dayton's employment demographics of the time.
- Dayton was (and still is) home to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, so there was a large population of active duty and retired military families, as well as civilian and contract employees and their families.
- Dayton and its suburbs were home of (and in the latter four, still are) the world HQs for: White Villa Famous Foods, Standard Cash Register, National Cash Register (NCR), Mead Corp., Huffman Manufacturing (Huffy bicycles), and Monarch Marking Systems.
- Dayton and its suburbs were also home to one of General Motors' largest manufacturing hubs outside of Detroit: Inland (sheet metal) [north], Frigidaire home and automotive refrigerators and air conditioners, Harrison thermostatic controls and auto A/C (took over auto A/C after GM sold Frigidaire to WCI in 1980), Delco Moraine (brakes and mechanical controls) and Delco Electronics (Delphi) [all in Moraine].
- Dayton was also home to Winters National Bank (founded by comedian Jonathan Winters' relatives) before its purchase by BankOne in 1983.
- Dayton and its suburbs also had other manufacturing and regional offices, such as paper plants for Kimberly-Clark and Oxford Paper [both in West Carrollton], Johnson Controls [Moraine, across the street from Frigidaire!], and Smith-Corona (SCM) [I-75 @ OH 725].
Thus, even though the south suburbs hadn't yet reached their development potential (which re-started around 1983), there was a huge customer base in the area as a whole, and with the exceptions of Hardee's, Carl's Jr, Taco John's, Steak & Shake, White Castle and Jack In The Box, there were very few major restaurant chains that didn't have at least one location in the area by 1971. A short list of the major chains from back then that I can recall: Arby's, Burger Chef, Burger King, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, Taco Time, Dairy Queen, Howard Johnson's, Roy Rogers, Famous Recipe Fried Chicken, Church's Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Wendy's, A&W, Ponderosa Steak House, Dunkin' Donuts, Long John Silver's, IHoP, Cassano's (regional pizza and Italian chain), Frisch's Big Boy, Tastee Freeze, Baskin-Robbins and of course, Sandy's. There was such a variety of choices that you didn't always have to settle on the same thing every night!
2) As noted above, General Foods owned Burger Chef prior to the Hardee's purchase in 1982. Your link to the Burger Chef Reliquary needs to be updated.
3) I currently live in Germany, about 1.5 hours from Brussels, Belgium. Do you happen to have the street addresses for the two Brussels locations? I think I may have found the location of the one en route to Waterloo, based solely on the press release you posted.
4) Regarding Captain Ernie's Showboat page on Burlington, Iowa: The caption for the letter pictured reads: Interestingly, this letter's return address is from 502 East War Memorial Drive, Peoria, Illinois which is an unknown address to this website. Perhaps it is an address from a franchisee owner postmarked December 1969.
This return address was indeed a franchisee owner, none other than The Batchelder Company, one of the (if not the) largest of Sandy's franchisees other than Dayton, and was also the one that set up the two Belguim locations. From your Belgium page press release, quoted complete with typos :-) : Sandy's hamburgers soon will be introduced to Europeans through Sandeuro Ltd., subsidiary corporation of the Batchelder Co., national transit advertising firm Peoria based at 502 E. War Memorial Drive.
5) Trivia: Burger Chef used the name "Mariner" for its fish sandwiches/platters from the mid-'70s until the Hardee's merger.
Thank you very much for a wonderful set of pages! :-)
If you have any memorabilia, pictures or stories of Sandy's in Dayton, Ohio or elsewhere, please email me!