In line at the new Chick-fil-A
It’s Wednesday morning, 5:30 a.m., and there are 255 people outside the new Chick-fil-A in Waynesboro.
One hundred of them won a raffle to hang around for the next 24 hours for the chance at 52 sandwich meals, a Chick-fil-A meal a week for the next year.
The scene at the Waynesboro Town Center was organized chaos. Upon arriving at the site you are greeted with tents filling both sides of the parking lot, a dunk tank and foursquare. Some of those on hand were trying to stay cool by sitting in their tents playing cards, others were riding scooters.
Not only were there locals braving the heat, but there were also people from different parts of the state and country. Liz Cady was there with some of her friends and family from Fairfax to enjoy their first Chick-fil-A opening. Heidi Jenkins, a former Waynesboro resident now living in Northern Virgina, is here with her brother celebrating their third store opening together.
Jenkins said the competition was fierce this morning. “A guy standing in line behind me drove from Pennsylvania last night to get here this morning, and he didn’t get the raffle, so he had to turn right back around and go home.”
Among all the participants, there are two that everyone seemed to know, Jake and Libby Knupp. The couple drove 15 hours from Florida to be at the Waynesboro Chick-fil-A opening, which just happened to be their fifty fifth opening.
“We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and our 50th Chick-fil-A opening together. At the opening they had made a cake for us, and the rest of the contestants and had a big celebration,” Libby Knupp said.
The couple has been to 18 different states simply because of Chick-fil-A openings.
“I know you’re going to ask me why we love Chick-fil-A so much,” Libby said. “It’s because the food is superb, the staff is impeccable and so friendly, the facility is always clean, and they are closed on Sundays.”
The Knupps say they have been to so many openings and received so many tickets that they keep them in a safe.
“If we ever get a divorce, the safe full of Chick-fil-A tickets is what we are going to be calling the attorney about,” Jake Knupp said with a grin on his face.
Owner and operator Jay Hawkins is a Clemson graduate who was selected by the company to run this particular Chick-fil-A. Thirty thousand managers apply for the opportunity to head one of the Chick-fil-A restaurants, but only about 65 are chosen each year to take on new stores, and Hawkins was one of the lucky few.
Having worked with Chick-fil-A for years, he was excited to have the opportunity to move to Waynesboro and head the restaurant.
“I love this area, I’m from a place similar to here,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins went on about the restaurant and how he loves the way it gives back to the community by helping local churches and schools.
“I just want to make a good impact on Waynesboro and give people a good place to eat,” he said.