Local franchise owner Andrew Gaddie is looking forward to helping the area get back to normal following Hurricane Irma.  On Thursday, Sept. 21, he will be opening Clermont’s second stand-alone Chick-fil-A restaurant bringing 90 new jobs to the area and the chance for 100 adults to win free Chick-fil-A meals for a year. The celebration will also include an opportunity for the community to donate children’s books to Sawgrass Bay Elementary.

The grand opening activities at the new restaurant will get underway on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 644 U.S. Hwy. 27. A family-friendly overnight First 100 party will pop up in the restaurant parking lot 24 hours before the grand opening as guests try to be one of the first 100 adults through the door to win a year of free Chick-fil-A meals. This community event is open to guests residing in specific zip codes surrounding the restaurant. A list of eligible zip codes and rules can be found at  https://www.chick-fil-a.com/legal#first_100_campout_rules

The Chick-fil-A First 100 is a tradition going back more than 13 years.  Chick-fil-A’s First 100 celebration has given away more than $31 million in free food through 2016 and continues to be the chain’s signature grand opening event. Rain, snow and extreme temperatures do not deter Chick-fil-A fans who arrive with tents, chairs, TVs and computers.

Each fan hopes to win a digital offer card loaded with a one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A meals (52 meals with each consisting of a Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, medium Waffle Potato Fries and a medium beverage) that will be awarded to the first 100 eligible adults– ages 18 and older with identification – around 6 a.m. on Sept. 21. If more than 100 people are onsite when the line officially opens at 6 am. on Sept. 20, a drawing will be held to randomly select the First 100. Those chosen will be required to camp out until the grand opening in order to secure their spot.

Becoming a Chick-fil-A franchise owner is no small feat as the company receives some 27,000 applications yearly for approximately 100 franchise opportunities. Gaddie, along with 10 members of his leadership team, is transferring from his Chick-fil-A at Seminole Towne Center Mall to operate the new location in Clermont.

Gaddie’s journey to becoming an Operator started more than 13 years ago when he followed friends’ advice to apply at the new Chick-fil-A restaurant getting ready to open in Bowling Green, Ky. Hired on the spot, Gaddie would continue to work through high school and college, earning a Chick-fil-A Leadership Scholarship that helped fund his bachelor’s in business administration and a minor in entrepreneurship at Western Kentucky University.

It was during his freshman year in college that he traveled to help open a restaurant in another state and had the opportunity to sit down with Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy who talked with him about his life, dreams, goals and the Operator opportunity. The conversation planted the seed in Gaddie to pursue becoming an Operator which led him to change his major. He moved on to become part of the chain’s interim manager program where he traveled the country opening and managing Chick-fil-A restaurants. His hard work paid off as six months later he was offered the franchise location at Seminole Towne Center Mall in March 2013. The following two years, his team members’ hard work and successes enabled the restaurant to earn one of corporate’s highest honors – being named to the Championship Club back-to-back years.

“I have been surrounded by wonderful mentors during my more than 13-year journey to becoming an Operator and I know the impact it made in my life in helping me achieve that dream,” said Gaddie, whose wife Amber and young son are excited to put down roots in the Clermont community. “I look forward to paying that forward with the amazing team I have hired as I provide them with a place for growth and development to help them excel in life in whatever endeavor they choose. I want them to feel like we’re their second home and family as they provide a remarkable experience and learn to love and serve each guest with fresh, handcrafted food in an environment of genuine hospitality.”

Gaddie is excited to continue his passion for serving the community in his new home in Clermont by inviting the community to participate in a children’s book drive benefitting Sawgrass Bay Elementary. Being collected during grand opening week, the donated books will be placed in a nearly 3-foot Book House, built from reclaimed wood. Since 2014, Chick-fil-A has collected more than 47,497 books that have been donated to 265 local organizations in 43 states and Washington, D.C.

More information about the new restaurant can be found at Chick-Fil-A