Chick-fil-A opens its doors in Danville

Published 10:14 am Thursday, December 7, 2023

By Fiona Morgan

fiona@amnews.com

Danville’s new Chick-fil-A held its ribbon cutting ceremony with a huge crowd on Wednesday, and officially opened for business on Thursday.

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The store is at 295 May Blvd. off the Danville bypass next to Lowe’s. People currently must enter through Cassady Way. The entrance across from Skywatch Drive is blocked due to utility construction.

Chick-fil-A Danville will be open for dine-in, drive-through and carry-out from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and will be closed on Sundays. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, with a playground inside. The drive-through has two lanes with enough room for 56 cars.

The restaurant is the first Chick-fil-A in Boyle County, and has been long-awaited by many locals. A Chick-fil-A food truck has come to Danville many times, always bringing a large crowd according to Nate Smith, owner and operator of Chick-fil-A Danville.

Nate Smith was the manager of the Chick-fil-A food truck for about three years. Based in Louisville, the truck goes out every day to 32 communities within three hours of the city that do not have a Chick-fil-A. Nate said the truck was so popular in Danville that they would come back every Friday.

“The excitement here in Danville was contagious, it made the day so fun every time we came to Danville,” he said. “We tried not to go to the same town every single week, but Danville would show up every single Friday, and we kept coming.”

Nate started the process of applying to be an owner/operator and open a location in Danville about three years ago, and was selected on June 13 of this year. This is his first time as owner / operator of a franchise store.

Nate’s father, Bruce Smith, is an owner / operator of four Chick-fil-A restaurants in the Louisville area. His uncle and cousin are also owner / operators in Maryland.

Nate, his wife Sarah and their son moved from Louisville to Danville about two months ago, and Nate said they love the community.

“We’re just really excited about this opportunity here to run this location and influence those around us,” he said. “I think the community’s really excited about Chick-fil-A, and we have great trainers here and a great team.”

Nate said he expects big turnouts for their opening week and thereafter. The location is a new building on previously-undeveloped land. As a new development, the store is bigger than some other urban Chick fil A’s that have land constraints. Nate said they were able to build for anticipated large crowds with the 56-car drive-through, and a large kitchen.

The restaurant brings 130 full time and part time jobs to the community. Nate said they have hired all positions, and are no longer actively hiring; however they will always take new applications.

“Our mission here is influencing team members’ lives while impacting guest stays,” Nate said. “My focus is on the team; if I take care of them and develop them and train them for their future, I know that they’re going to do a great job taking care of our guests each day, and really being a light in the community.”

Judge Executive Trille Bottom spoke at Wednesday’s ribbon cutting, welcoming Chick-fil-A to the community. The Danville Boyle County Chamber of Commerce helped organize the ribbon cutting. Attendees got to tour the kitchen, meet team members, and take photos with the cow mascot.

Chamber of Commerce Director Jeff Jewel thanked Nate and the Chick-fil-A team for having a community focus.

“When Nate and I met, every question he had for me was what Chick-fil-A can do for our community,” Jewel said. “It’s really nice having friends and neighbors like you guys.”

In honor of the new restaurant, Chick-fil-A will donate $25,000 to Feeding America. Those funds will be distributed to partners in the Danville area to aid in the fight against hunger.   

The Danville location is also recognizing 100 local heroes at the Danville Police Department, the Danville Fire Department, and the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office, providing them with free Chick-fil-A entrées for a year.

The Danville location will also be participating in the Chick-fil-A Shared Table program, which allows the restaurant to donate surplus food to local soup kitchens, shelters, food banks and nonprofits.

Team members regularly package extra food, like biscuits, nuggets and other prepared items; and non-profit representatives can pick them up from the restaurant. Almost 2,000 Chick-fil-A restaurants in the U.S. and Canada participate in the program.