The first Chick-fil-A franchise in Fircrest officially opened its doors at 6 a.m. on Aug. 14 to a crowd of camped-out locals.
With the opening of the branch, a corporate sponsored incentive program offered the first 100 visitors the opportunity to receive free Chick-fil-A for a full year. Patrons had to live within a three-mile radius of the location and camp overnight outside the eatery for 12 hours — from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m — to qualify. They then were among the first to enter the establishment, walk down a red carpet, shake hands with the owner, and receive their “First 100” card granting them a year’s worth of chicken sandwiches.
You may know owner Lynnae Schneller from her previous entrepreneurial endeavor Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles which was featured on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2013. She also opened the first Tacoma Chick-fil-A on South 38th and South Steele Street in 2015, prior to the new location on South 19th Street across from Tacoma Community College.
Schneller’s 8-year-old son was so excited about the campers that he convinced his mom to camp out in the restaurant’s play room overnight. Schneller and her son set up a cozy pile of blankets between big toys, and woke up to the staff prepping for the big opening day.
When the corporate restaurant development team was researching areas to open up a new Chick-fil-A in the Tacoma-area, Schneller — who grew up in Fircrest — jumped at the opportunity. “I loved doing the first franchise,” she said. “And we’re already in the community. It just made sense.”
Schneller, who grew up in Fircrest, said she’s excited to bring jobs to the region, develop staff, and engage customers in her new venture. The establishment has already brought 100 new jobs to the region, on top of the 110 jobs at the Tacoma location. The newest franchise is the 13th in Washington, and the fifth in the South Sound.