Happening nearby: Chick-fil-A preparing for Thursday’s grand opening; customers already lining up

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Customers are setting up camp in the Chick-fil-A parking lot Wednesday in Lynnwood. The first 100 customers in line when the restaurant opens at 6 a.m., Thursday, May 7, receive free chicken meals for a year. (Photo by David Pan)
Customers are setting up camp in the Chick-fil-A parking lot Wednesday in Lynnwood. The first 100 customers in line when the restaurant opens at 6 a.m., Thursday, May 7, receive free chicken meals for a year. (Photo by David Pan)

The official grand opening of the Lynnwood Chick-fil-A is set for Thursday, May 7, but for many customers the party already has started.

At 6 a.m. Wednesday, customers began lining up and setting up camp at the Lynnwood location, 3026 196th Street SW., as part of the company’s “First 100” celebration in which the first 100 customers in line when the doors open at 6 a.m., Thursday, May 7, receive free Chick-fil-A meals for a year.

Chick-fil-A customers work at assembling their tent Wednesday morning. The Lynnwood location is the third restaurant Chick-Fil-A has opened in Washington.
Chick-fil-A customers work at assembling their tent Wednesday morning. The Lynnwood location is the third restaurant Chick-Fil-A has opened in Washington. (Photo courtesy of Chick-fil-A)

A couple of from Everett, John and Sofia, arrived at 2 a.m. and were the first to receive wrist bands. Customers were allowed to set up camp in the parking lot at 6 a.m., Wednesday.

“We wanted to be the first,” John said.

The two already have made about 20 visits to the Bellevue location. John’s first experience with Chick-fil-A was when he was living in Jacksonville, Fla. in 2010.

“I really like the food,” said Sofia, who was turned on to Chick-fil-A by her boyfriend.

John and Sofia of Everett grab some food Wednesday at Chick-fil-A. The couple arrived at 2 a.m. to secure a spot in line.
John and Sofia of Everett grab some food Wednesday at Chick-fil-A. The couple arrived at 2 a.m. to secure a spot in line. (Photo by David Pan)

Those camping out are being fed by Chick-fil-A and have access to restrooms. The restaurant is providing security, entertainment and games.

The Lynnwood location is the largest of the three restaurants that the company has opened in Washington state. The Bellevue and Tacoma locations opened in April. Lynnwood has indoor seating for 124 and patio seating for 16. The restaurant has 95 parking spots and shares a lot with Lowe’s.

Owner Paul Rosser, started with Chick-fil-A at age 16 and previously owned a Chick-fil-A franchise in Tennessee. He’s been in contact with the owners at Bellevue and Tacoma.

“Being the third location, we’re able to watch and learn a little bit,” he said. “I have a good relationship with them. They’ve been very helpful with their experience.”

Business has been so strong at the Bellevue location that traffic problems have arose. The store has had to hire off-duty police to help direct and manage traffic. Rosser has committed to hiring off-duty police to assist with traffic issues.

“We do recognize there are some traffic concerns as a result of our opening in Bellevue, and that restaurant team has been working with local authorities to better manage traffic around the site,” Rosser said. “For Lynnwood, we are focused on efficient service for our guests and our surrounding community.  We will have traffic control that I’m paying for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 6:30 a.m. -10 p.m., and continuing forward as we see need.”

Rosser said he met with City of Lynnwood officials to discuss traffic issues on Wednesday morning.

The Lynnwood restaurant will employ about 80 full-time and part-time employees.

Lynnwood Chick-fil-A owner Paul Rosser has been in contact with the operators at the Bellevue and Tacoma restaurants.
Lynnwood Chick-fil-A owner Paul Rosser started with the company when he was 16 years old. He and his wife Danielle relocated to Lynnwood to open the restaurant. (Photo by David Pan)
A large crowd started gathering Wednesday morning.
A large crowd started gathering Wednesday morning. (Photo courtesy of Chick-fil-A)
Everyone pitched their tents in the parking lot.,
Everyone pitched their tents in the parking lot. (Photo by David Pan)
A Chick-fil-A staff member chats with a customer.
A Chick-fil-A staff member chats with a customer. (Photo by David Pan)

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