Chick-fil-A brings new opportunities

Published 11:45 pm Friday, October 29, 2010

Free Chick-fil-A: North Suffolk will get its first Chick-fil-A on Nov. 18. The first 100 customers will receive free Chick-fil-A for a year.

The Chick-fil-A cows are bringing their mission to “eat more chikin” to the residents of North Suffolk.

A Chick-fil-A restaurant on College Drive, across from the Harbour View East shopping center, is scheduled to open Nov. 18.

“We’re just about ready to roll,” said Dan Curran, operator. “They’re paving the parking lot now, and it’s just a matter of shining it up and making it look pretty for the big day.”

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The restaurant is home of “the original chicken sandwich” and sells a variety of chicken meals. There are nearly 1,500 restaurants in 38 states and Washington, D.C., that open Monday through Saturday.

The first 100 customers at the doors will receive free Chick-fil-A for a year. The night before, Curran is pulling out the stops and will have entertainment, games and an ice cream party for those waiting in line.

Curran and his family moved from near Cleveland, where they owned a store, to open the College Drive store.

“We searched around in several different states for an ideal place to move the family to,” Curran said. “We have five children, two of them in college. The forethought was to move somewhere the kids would want to come back to. I want to babysit my grandkids someday, and this community offered everything we were looking for.”

Having not been here for long, Curran is already busy reaching out to the community.

At the night of the “first 100,” there will be a station to write cards and put together care packages for the deployed military troop Curran is working to adopt.

He also already approached area schools, first responders, churches and charities about partnering with them to support their organizations.

The new store will bring 70 jobs to the area, for which Curran said he has already received 1,100 applications.

While the birth of another new business to the area is worthy of celebration, city economic development director Kevin Hughes is particularly excited about the byproducts the project includes.

“The exciting thing about the Chick-fil-A is the roadway project and the public/private partnership between the city and the landowners,” Hughes said. “It’s a win-win project all the way around.”

The project has added an access road, which has already opened, to be used by residents of the 1,400 homes in the Burbage Grant neighborhood and provides a direct access point to the Lakeview Technology Center without employees and visitors having to drive through the residential neighborhood.

The new road is a half-mile extension of Burbage Drive, which connects to College Drive.

Previously, there was only one road in and out of the neighborhood, which includes an elementary school. City officials have been looking for opportunities to create multiple exits from neighborhoods in case of emergencies.

The city of Suffolk contributed nearly $3.5 million to extend Burbage Drive. The money came from part of the Route 17 Special Taxing District. The private sector also provided funding and property. Businesses such as Battlefield Associates and Lakeview Technology Center provided the necessary land and right of way needed for the project.

The Chick-fil-A project also created four or five more out parcels available on College Drive, which Hughes said he hopes will bring even more new business to the area.