By Roslyn Giles
MIDLAND, GA (WTVM)- Hundreds showed up for a Grand Opening ceremony to celebrate the opening of Chick-fil-A in Midland Thursday morning. Among the crowd were 100 campers selected during a lottery who received 52 free sandwich certificates—enough to last a year. "It was so much fun, I'm pretty much up for any adventure so I decided to come out with my brother," said Mychel Anne Murphy.
The idea to camp out dates back decades and has now become a lasting tradition. People travel thousands of miles to commemorate the various grand opening held across the nation. Today was the 72nd Chick-fil-A event for a couple from West Virginia and the 50th for a man from Florida. Both were invited by Chain President, Dan Cathy, to take a 'first bite', another Cathy family tradition following the ribbon cutting.
A real cow was also on hand to help emphasize the popular Chick-fil-A phrase, "Eat More Chicken." The main attraction by far was Founder Truett Cathy. Truett and his wife Jeanette along with a host of other Cathy family members showed up to support Ross Cathy, a third generation owner. "I'm glad to be here, anywhere at the age of 90. I'm trying to make 100, very few people die after 100. But I'm grateful to you. I feel it's a high calling to serve people meeting their physical needs and sometimes spiritual needs," added Truett.
Dan reflected on the company's values which center around a biblical message. "We're not just selling chicken; we are giving people a message, God's message."
All Chick-fil-A stores are closed on Sundays as a means of rest and a day of worship for its employees. Truett told the crowd he doesn't worry about missing 20 percent of business on the first day of the week because customers can buy 2 or 3 on Saturdays to save for the next day.
Ross could have chosen anywhere to open up his first store, but said he chose Columbus over North Carolina and Tennessee. "I was born and raised in Georgia and wanted to be closer to my parents and grandparents and Columbus is poised for growth in the Midland area and we wanted to get here prior to all the development," explained Ross.
There's also a sibling rivalry that could benefit you. Ross said if the Midland store's opening day sales exceed his older brother's store's sales on his first day, he will give free chicken sandwiches with the purchase of a medium beverage to every customer from 6a.m. - 10a.m. Friday.