Newsmakers: New Chick-fil-A locations report successWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
At the beginning of 2012, the Toledo area had one Chick-fil-A. As the year comes to an end, the community now has three.
“Because of the receptivity of the Toledo community, [Chick-fil-A] felt like we needed to grow by 200 percent in a very short amount of time in order to service the demand for our product,” said Jonathan Winn, who operates the 4260 Sylvania Ave. location, just outside Westfield Franklin Park Mall, where another is located.
Mike Herrick, who used to run the Chick-fil-A in the mall food court, now operates the 10315 Fremont Pike, Perrysburg, location. Both new locations opened in November and a new owner came into the mall spot, which opened in 1984.
Each location has more than 4,000 square feet and includes a play area and double drive-thru lanes.
“We have been very busy. It has been sustainable, which is awesome, so it has been a very good move,” Herrick said.
Winn said his store sees about 4,000-5,000 customers per day. He encouraged patrons to be patient as new employees learn the ropes. About 200 new employees were hired between the two locations.
Herrick was still at the mall location during Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day on Aug. 1.
After the chain’s president Dan Cathy offered his thoughts on same-sex marriage on “The Ken Coleman Show,” members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied community along with mayors of major cities like Boston, Chicago and San Francisco denounced the chain.
“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’” Cathy had said.
To support Chick-fil-A, former Arkansas governor and Fox News personality Mike Huckabee called for an appreciation day. Customers formed lines with hours-long waits at Chick-fil-A locations nationwide. Herrick said the day was record setting.
Both he and Winn said they haven’t had any protestors since opening. Herrick said the chain is also looking into an Airport Highway location, which could open in 2015.
Woodville and North Towne Square malls had Chick-fil-A locations that closed in the ’90s.
“I’ve been the only game in town. I haven’t had any friends. Now I’ve got friends,” Herrick said.