SOUTHINGTON – Area residents crowded Chick-fil-A on Queen Street for the restaurant’s opening day Thursday.
“I’m stoked, I’ve really been praying for it,” Ray Frazier, of Southington, said of having the franchise come to his hometown. He developed a taste for the food when he was on tour with his band, which Chick-fil-A supplied with free meals while they were on the road.
The store also offered its first 100 customers a free meal every week for a year, prompting a small tent camp to form in the parking lot.
Construction on the plaza that houses the restaurant, as well as Aldi and the future Chipotle and Mission BBQ, began in October 2016. Aldi opened in October, and Chipotle and Mission BBQ are scheduled to open in the spring.
“[I] definitely wanted to come for opening day, for sure,” Frazier said while eating with his wife, Jenel Frazier, and their six-month-old daughter Aria Frazier.
Frazier spoke shortly after store owner Mike Hartman cut the ribbon to open the store alongside local politicians and members of the Southington Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m very excited to be here,” Hartman said after the ribbon cutting. “Everybody’s been so welcoming.”
He said he’s confident locating in Southington was the right choice, saying that it’s an area which will supply a steady stream of customers.
“I think it’s a community that’s thriving,” Hartman said.
In an effort to be a part of that community, Hartman said Chick-fil-A differentiates itself by focusing on customer service and taking an interest in local causes. As part of its opening events, the store held a book drive for the YMCA and the chamber of commerce said Chick-fil-A signed on to be an executive member of the organization.
“We feel its important to not just be another restaurant along Queen Street,” Hartman said.
“Our community welcomed them with open arms,” said Taylor Crofton, the chamber’s executive director.
Before he cut the ribbon, Croften presented Hartman with a plaque thanking him for bringing the store to Southington and had one of the ceremonial first sandwiches.
“The food is delicious,” Crofton said, also describing the customer service as “phenomenal.”
“I think we’re going to have a wonderful partnership.”