Chick-fil-A took a big step toward opening its first restaurant in Lynnwood.
The company formally broke ground at the future site of its first restaurant in Lynnwood on a sunny Wednesday afternoon.
The restaurant will be located at 3026 196th St. SW. in the parking lot of Lowe’s. Lynnwood will be one of three Chick-fil-A locations, along with Bellevue and Tacoma, scheduled to open in the spring of 2015 in Washington.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Blake Goodman, Director of Real Estate for Chick-fil-A. “We’ve been receiving customer requests to come to Lynnwood, specifically, for the 11 years that I’ve been with Chick-fil-A. … We’re proud to be here and we hope we can make you proud.”
Among those in attendance at the groundbreaking were Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith, Lynnwood City Council President Loren Simmons, Lynnwood Chamber President Mike Gibson and many Lynnwood City officials.
“We’re delighted that you’ve chosen this site and this city for your first store in Washington,” Smith said.
Economic Development Director David Kleitsch told the assembled crowd that the area, when it was known as Alderwood Manor, was populated with chicken ranches.
“At one time this area produced more eggs than almost anyplace in the United States of America,” Kleitsch said. “We love chickens.”
Goodman related the story of how Chick-fil-A came to purchase land in the Lowe’s parking lot. The original owner of the land didn’t want to sell to the developers. So for a time Lowe’s parking lot included a house.
Chick-fil-A was scouting potential sites and came across this situation, which didn’t seem to make any sense.
“Why is there a house in the middle of Lowe’s parking lot?” Goodman said. “It just didn’t fit. It was a holdout.”
Eventually, Chick-fil-A acquired the property and it turned out to be a deal that benefited the homeowner, Lowe’s and Chick-fil-A.
“They needed the money. They needed the parking. We needed a place to serve chicken,” Goodman said. “It actually worked out for everybody.”
The store is expected to hire 75 employees.
“I’m happy to know that you will be fostering an inclusive work environment,” Smith said. “Lynnwood is a very diverse city with regard to its people, its visitors and its businesses. We really embrace and celebrate our diversity.”
The company does a lot of business in Washington.
Chick-fil-A currently purchases all of its potatoes – 438 million pounds last year – from the Columbia River Basin and all of the apples used to supply its West Region – more than 2.25 million pounds – are grown in Washington. Goodman was told that the 438 million pounds of potatoes translated into 26,500 jobs.
“We’re excited to finally serve the very people that we’ve been buying the potatoes from,” Goodman said.
The Lynnwood store will built to LEED specifications with water and energy efficiency features. The design of the restaurant is different from most of their other restaurants, Goodman said.
“This does not look like your ordinary Chick-fil-A,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure that that Lynnwood knows we took special attention, not to just fit into your community, but to stand out.”
The restaurant will have indoor seating for 124 and outdoor seating for 16. It also will offer drive-thru service.
“We want to say thank you for welcoming us,” Goodman said. “Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your community. This is a wonderful community.”
– By David Pan