Sections of the Milford Plaza parking lot were filled with tents, beach chairs and hundreds of people awaiting the grand opening of Chick-fil-A in Milford on Wednesday, September 10. Many of those waiting arrived at the location before 5:30 am, hoping to be one of the 100 lucky recipients of free Chic-fil-A for a year.
“This is my 29th grand opening for Chick-fil-A,” said Valerie Chambers of Indian Head, Maryland. “I have been picked for the free meals at 20 of them. There is one guy here today who has been to 107 grand openings.” Ms. Chambers was at the event with Mary Popp of Hughesville, Maryland, Glenn and Angela Mayle of LaPlata, Maryland, John Herbert of Churchton, Maryland and Susan Ter Bush of Knoxville, Tennessee. It was Mr. Herbert’s ninth grand opening.
At all Chic-fil-A grand opening events, the first 100 customers receive one free Chick-fil-A Sandwich Meal per week for one year. If more than 100 people are present by 6 am on the day before the opening, a drawing for the 100 winners plus ten alternates is held to determine the winners. Chick-fil-A in Milford did not do the drawing 24 hours in advance, choosing instead to do the drawing at 6 am the morning of the grand opening. Customers must be present at the drawing and must be present when the doors open. If one of those whose names were drawn is not present when the door opens, an alternate will take their place.
“It is a huge event,” said Jerri Mitchell from BelAir, Maryland, who was there for her fifth grand opening. “This is the third time I have won, although one of the times I was an alternate.” Ms. Mitchell was there with her son, Jacob, along with Cheryl Zaun, her daughter, Ambrie Zubrowski, Joy Williams and her son, Drew. The group was sitting under a tent playing a card game as they waited for the restaurant to open as three of them were selected in the drawing while one was selected as an alternate.
The new Chick-fil-A restaurant in Milford is owned by Chris Hobert, a former Navy SEAL and member of the Navy Reserves, and his wife, Amy. Mr. Hobert thanked everyone for coming out to help them celebrate the opening of the new restaurant. “I believe I have been around to shake everyone’s hand who spent the day in our parking lot,” Mr. Hobert said. “If I missed anyone, please come to me so I can make that right.”
Mayor Bryan Shupe also thanked everyone for coming to the event. “I know some of you have been out here more than 12 hours in anticipation of the opening,” Mayor Shupe said. “We are excited to have Chick-fil-A join our business community here in Milford and can already see that Chris and Amy will be valuable assets to Milford.”
Just after the ribbon was cut to celebrate the grand opening, the lucky 100 winners lined up at the front door to enter, with David Dawson, whose name was drawn first, following the trademark Chick-fil-A cow into the new restaurant. As part of the grand opening celebration, the Milford Chick-fil-A is sponsoring the Book House, a three-foot high donation box. From Wednesday, September 10 to Friday, September 12, customers who donated a new book to the Book House received a free entrée. The books will be donated to the Greater Milford Girls and Boys Club to use as a free library exchange in order to encourage literacy and education.
“Chick-fil-A is a wonderful company,” said Ms. Chambers as she and her group played board games to pass the time on Wednesday. “They treat their customers and their employees like family.”