Kristy King Foreman, owner of Ellianos in Waycross, still owns the franchise for a Blackshear location and hopes to move forward with a store here later this year.

When will locals be able to buy an Ellianos latte or frappe in Blackshear? Is the popular drive-thru coffee and beverage franchise still going to open here?

Pierce County coffee fanatics and loyal Ellianos customers have been asking those questions for a year  — ever since Kristy King Foreman, owner and founder of the Ellianos Coffee Co. Waycross location, announced last March she would open a second location in the Wall’s Plaza on Hwy. 84.

Speaking with The Times recently, Foreman says she still owns the Blackshear franchise and has every intention of opening a location here. Ellianos in Waycross will celebrate its 12th anniversary in May and Foreman hopes to make more detailed announcements about building plans at the new Blackshear location in conjunction with their celebration.

“I have at least five customers a day ask about it,” Foreman says with a laugh. “I’m trying to get some things hammered out so we can make an announcement by the end of May.”

Foreman postponed construction most of last year while waiting on the Florida-based chain’s corporate office to finalize new Ellianos floor plans before hiring a contractor.

“I decided to wait them out and let them finish redesigning it and do all their changes, work out all their details before I spent money on it,” Foreman says.

Those plans were finalized in December, but Foreman has been struggling since then with short-staffing issues at the Waycross location and found little time to settle on a contractor for the new store.

Foreman purchased a franchise for Blackshear last year in hopes of maintaining consistency between the future Blackshear store and the Waycross location  — something she could not guarantee had another entrepreneur secured the Blackshear franchise.

“We are so closely located and have so many customers that would go to both locations you would know if they didn’t make the drinks like we do,” Foreman explains. “That’s the whole reason I paid for the franchise in Blackshear … The only way to make it consistent is if I do it myself.”

It may be months yet before locals see a new Ellianos store taking shape in the Wall’s Plaza, but Foreman assures customers their favorite drinks will be available in Blackshear in the near future  — just as soon as she hires the right contractor for the job.