Crunch time: This buzz is making a lot of League City residents sit up.

Crunch Franchise plans to open a $2.5 million, 24-hour fitness center in the space formerly occupied by Kroger, 200 Interstate 45 S. in League City Plaza.

Crunch, a health and fitness club, will open a 27,000-square-foot center in the former store, which will be subdivided to accommodate three different businesses, said Meagan Froehlich, marketing specialist for Weingarten Realty, which has owned the shopping center since 1997.

Crunch League City will offer “miles” of cardio and strength-training equipment, half-hour circuit training, a training area with indoor turf, a dedicated group fitness studio featuring more than 70 classes a week, tanning beds, spray tanning, massage and more.

Crunch League City is owned by Tony Hartl, who owns Crunch centers in Waco and Killeen, and plans to bring 21 Crunch gyms to the Austin and Central Texas area over the next five years, according to reports.

Kroger left the center in June of 2016 when it opened a 123,000-square-foot Kroger Market Place at 1920 W. League City Parkway.

Power struggle: Meanwhile, is anyone else tracking a tool trend in the county? Burnsville, Minnesota-based Northern Tool + Equipment is rumored to be hammering out a lease in the former Kroger space, though Weingarten officials declined to confirm negotiations.

Northern Tool sells specialized equipment — in-store and online — such as trailers, trailer parts, pressure washers, power generators, industry-specific hand tools, hydraulic parts, meat mixers for wild game, light industrial equipment and more. The company would be new to the market and would join retail rival Harbor Freight, which has a Webster store and is soon to open one in Texas City.

Harbor Freight sells a full selection of tools and accessories in categories including automotive, air and power tools, storage, outdoor power equipment, generators, welding supplies, shop equipment, hand tools and more. Stay tuned.

What’s that? An inquiring reader wants to know what kind of car wash is being built at state Highway 96 and Interstate 45 across from Shipley Don-Nuts.

City officials report it’s a Spout Car Wash, 1508 W. League City Parkway. Spout Car Wash, which will offer a tunnel car wash system. Such a system uses a conveyor to move vehicles through a series of fixed cleaning mechanisms. No word on an opening date. Stay tuned.

Mailbag: A reader emailed: “What is going into the building in Webster where Macaroni Grill used to be located?”

BB’s Café, known for Louisiana-style cuisine, is planning a July opening at the site, 1039 W. Bay Area Blvd., reports the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership.

The Webster location will mark the 10th Houston area BB’s Café, which operates in Houston city limits, Katy, Cypress and Pearland.

BB’s Cafe’s, which serves cajun-fried seafood, crawfish boils and gumbo, has earned a cult following in the years since its Montrose debut in 2007, the partnership reports. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, one of Houston’s most famous residents, is known to visit the eatery.

Restaurant redo: Fast-casual deli chain Schlotzsky’s is rebranding its restaurants with changes apparent at locations around the county. Part of that rebranding is a name change to Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery to reflect the chain’s roots.

In June, the Schlotzsky’s at 221 S. FM 270 in League City celebrated a grand reopening and showed off a new interior design that reinforces the Austin brand, franchise owner Cynde Whitson said. The celebration featured giveaways and promotions. The new look, meant to evoke an Austin vibe, includes graphics, tableware and uniforms.

Ever wonder where the funny sounding Schlotzsky’s name came from? Apparently, nowhere in particular. Don and Dolores Dissman, who in 1971 opened the first restaurant on South Congress Avenue in Austin, just happened to like the name, according to the company’s history.

The first Schlotzsky’s offered a single type of sandwich — an 8-inch muffuletta stuffed with three meats, cheeses, lettuce, tomato, olives and dressing served on freshly made bread — known as the Original. It was modeled after the muffulettas the Dissmans discovered in an Italian grocery store in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

The Original is still around, but the Schlotzsky’s menu has greatly expanded since then. The chain has nearly 400 restaurants.

 Laura Elder: 409-683-5248;

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