Chick-fil-A opened its newest restaurant in Mebane this past week, as Mebane Oaks Road was clogged with locals and out-of-town folks clamoring to be among the first to sample the popular restaurant’s samplings of chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, waffle fries, and other assorted favorites.
“We’re so excited to be here,” Chick-fil-A Grand Opening Supervisor Ben Creighton said at a ceremony dedicating the new restaurant the morning of Thursday, August 1. “This restaurant is now our 2,449th. We’re really excited about that.”
The festivities actually began a day prior to the official Grand Opening, as Chick-fil-A fans, along with free food lovers and the curious, began making their way to the parking lot of the new restaurant in the early afternoon hours of July 31. Starting at 6:00 p.m. on the evening of July 31, participants had a chance of being among the “First 100” in the company’s promotion to give the very first patrons of a new Chick-fil-A a year’s worth of free meals.
According to a company press release, just over 174 participants lined up the evening of July 31 in the parking lot restaurant in the hopes of being one of up to 100 guests in line.
Participants and guests hunkered down for the night, braving ominous skies by hanging out with friends and family members, making new friends in line, and generally enjoying the unique circumstances. Guests passed the time while being hosted by Chick-fil-A, fed dinner and finishing off the evening with a snack. There was music, games, entertainment, prizes, and a block party, which also helped pass the time.
When the time finally arrived at 6:00 a.m. on the morning of Thursday, August 1, the employees of the new Chick-fil-A were waiting for the first entering guests, all wearing white Chick-fil-A T-shirts, with banging drums and cheerful applause.
For the operator of the new Mebane Chick-fil-A, Todd Perkins, this past week’s Grand Opening brought to culmination many months of planning and development. Already a successful Chick-fil-A operator in Winston-Salem, Perkins was eager to make his way to eastern Alamance County.
“This is a bit of a homecoming,” the eastern Guilford County native said. “Just moving closer to where we grew up. What’s really interesting is we came here for a business opportunity, but I’m already feeling that we’re getting a community with it. And that’s really neat. The support and help from this community, and the leadership of Mebane, has been incredible. And we’re so grateful to be here. We just look forward to serving you guys in the future, and being part of this community.
“Growing up, Chick-fil-A was a part of my life,” Perkins said, recalling that the old Chick-Fil-A at Burlington’s Holly Hills Mall, which began in the 1970s, was among the very first restaurant in the company. “Always at the mall, you knew you were going to have Chick-fil-A. That was part of the deal when you went to the mall. After college, and spending some time at a family business, I decided to pursue Chick-fil-A as a career. 16 years ago I became a franchise owner in Winston-Salem. My wife and I have been there 16 years.”
A large crowd of spectators, hungry customers, and local dignitaries made their way to the official Grand Opening ceremony in front of the new restaurant. An honorary color guard from Mebane’s Boy Scout Troop 52 formally raised the American flag for the first time at the new local restaurant, while members of the Eastern Alamance High School band played the National Anthem.
Troy Woodard, Senior Vice-President of American National Bank and a member of the Alamance County Board of Directors, welcomed Chick-fil-A to town, while also welcoming some of the many town officials on hand, including Mayor Glendel Stephenson, Assistant City Manager Chris Rollins, and multiple City Council members.
“Chick-fil-A is in Mebane, North Carolina. How wonderful is that?” Woodard said. “We’re just so excited to have them as part of the business community, and Todd’s relocation back closer to his family.”
“What a great asset to Mebane,” Mayor Pro Tem Ed Hooks added.
While the new Chick-fil-A certainly brings a welcomed culinary addition to Mebane, it appears that it is also going to bring an unwanted necessary side effect with it - heavy traffic flows along Mebane Oaks Road. The local artery was jam packed with cars throughout the first few days of the Chick-fil-A’s opening, clogging lanes and creating some gridlock at local intersections.