February 5, 2009 - Thursday - 6:30 a.m was the actual opening.
I wasn't there but one of the local TV stations carried the event live and I watched it. One hundred twenty-five (125) individuals stayed all night. The first 100 received 52 coupons each for Chick-Fil-A value meals when the restaurant opened. The other 25 participated in a raffle that awarded 5 more people a years' supply of meals.
Now this sounds crazy. But the Chick-Fil-A crew provides food and games and all sorts of things for those who spend the night. So it is more like a big party than it is anything else. There is a sense of community and being involved in something that makes the entire event exciting and rewarding over and above the value of the food.
Another thing is that a lot of people I met just really like the Chick-Fil-A food. I mean really like it. It is much like I would just as soon not drink coffee if I can't get Starbucks. It's that kind of customer loyalty.
Speaking of coffee I stopped at Starbucks about 7. In this photo to the left you can see the Starbucks building on the right hand side. This image was taken about 9 am and the driveway was already pretty full of cars.
The traffic increased then as the ribbon cutting hour approached. There was a Moore policeman directing traffic.
I've always thought that would be a difficult job - directing traffic that is. But this fellow did an admirable job of it.
The building in the background is a tire store. It was not there when I returned to my parents' home in 1998. We watched it being built from the porch - as well as several other buildings.
It still is hard for me to believe all these buildings now occupy ground I once played on with my brother and cousins. Where the Chick-Fil-A is was just pasture with a big old Cottonwood tree in it and then later it was a pond.
At 9 am my brother, son, and friends and I walked over to the new restaurant building for the ribbon cutting. I think there were closer to 200 people there than 100 - maybe more - hard to estimate.
Someone pushed me up towards the front of the line for the ribbon cutting but I held back as much as I could. The tall guy with the scissors is the owner/operator of this Chick-Fil-A. And the fellow just to his left is his father who is an owner/operator of a store in Norman just down the street a few miles from us. There were a lot of other owner/operators there from various stores around the country, too. I am in that picture somewhere to the right of the owner/operator.
After the ribbon cutting there was also a "first bite" ceremony. Someone handed out a whole bunch of chicken sandwiches and everyone took a bite together.
I did not participate in the first bite.
For one thing I haven't been eating much meat lately. I'm not sure why exactly.
But the folks who particiapted in the first bite were exceedingly happy about it and seemed to very much enjoy it.
I visited with a Chick-Fil-A fellow from Atlanta before the ceremony began. He asked a lot of questions about my family and our farm and our development and so on.
The sign was a big point of contention in our negotiations. They wanted a really tall one and we wanted a much shorter one.
We finally compromised on the one in the picture.
I am happy with it in all respects actually. I know it cost a lot of money for them to meet our standards but I think long term it will be worthwhile to everyone.
Those lights with the curved arms that have the kind of old timey looking globes cost Chick-Fil-A at least $25,000 more. I am impressed that Chick-Fil-A was willing to invest in upgrades. Many of the people who contact us about development locations are the opposite and want to spend the least amount of money which gets them the least quality.
We have this new school not far from us and the Pom Squad was invited to be part of the ceremony.
There were teams of marketing people that went to all of the schools in the area and handed out coupons to students.
I had several coupons to hand out myself and I can tell you that everyone I gave one to was just delighted with the gift.
Of course everyone asks me if we get free food there since we sold the land and it is our development. And the answer is "No!" Same answer for Starbucks, Chili's, and Home Depot. We get no freebies but it is amazing that everyone thinks we might.
This is just another image to show how many cars there were lined up to get in the place.
In the far background to the right in this picture you can see the Starbucks where I hang out a lot and beyond it is Chili's.
The sign that is sticking up above Starbucks is for the Home Depot which was our first deal.
There were a lot more cars all around the property. There were cars in Home Depot's lot and on our yard and just all over the place.
This is a picture showing the band from the new Southmoore High School that is about a mile from our place. It is the third high school now in our district. That's a far cry from when I began school. We had two first grade classes and that dwarfed the senior class that year that had about 12 kids. I think there are already 1200 or so at Southmoore and eventually there will be more than 2000.
In a way I think all the population growth is negative for the community. You get so many people and it is just increasingly difficult to maintain those things that make a community a community if you know what I mean.
On the other hand it is good that so many people can find nice homes and safe places to live and work. And increasing population definitely gets you more choices for stores and work and all sorts of things.
So it is mixed as I suppose are so many things.