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Searcy Residents Show Support for Chick-Fil-A
Supporters of the fast food restaurant Chick-Fil-A showed up by the hundreds on Wednesday not only to enjoy a chicken sandwich, but to make a statement.
That statement comes from company CEO Dan Cathy, who said in a recent interview that he is a "firm backer of traditional marriage."
Cathy's statement immediately started a media firestorm causing several organizations and city officials from across the nation to protest the CEO's remarks and boycott the fast food chain.
Earlier last week, former Arkansas governor and current Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee said on his Facebook page that he wanted to encourage those who support the company to "simply go and eat Chick-Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1."
What followed was millions of views to the former presidential hopeful's Facebook page and nearly as many flooding Chick-Fil-A stores across the country.
Searcy Chick-Fil-A owner William Boulware said he has been overwhelmed with the response his store has received from the community.
"It's been truly amazing," he said. " We opened up the doors at 6 a.m. and people were already waiting in line. It's been an amazing outpouring of love and appreciation and we're so excited to be part of this community."
Boulware said he and his staff were able to prepare for the increase number of patrons today but the response has still exceeded expectations.
"We tried to brace ourselves," he said. "I think we have already hit all the goals that Mike Huckabee set and we're going to do far more than I imagined or planned for."
But it wasn't only Searcy residents who made their voices heard by way of chicken sandwich. Judy Choate traveled nearly 80 miles to be a part of what has now become known as Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day.
"We started planning this trip a week ago when we heard about it," the Mountain View resident said Wednesday afternoon. "I think it's fantastic and it has gotten a lot of good reception."
Choate along with her husband, Wayne, and friend Judy Strahan said they aren't regulars of Chick-Fil-A but are supporting what the company stands for.
Closer to home, Tonya Barnes of Kensett said that being a part of something like this is about personal rights.
"Everyone has a right to how they feel," she said. "I think it is awesome [what is happening here today]."
Usually waiting nearly two hours for fast food would have many in a bad mood, but morale at the restaurant was very high. Both Boulware and his customers agree it was the staff that made the wait manageable.
"We have a fantastic staff," he said. "We all have the same vision and we just want to love on our guests and make sure that everyone has a fantastic experience while they are here.
It's so much more than just a fast food restaurant. We really buy into the vision that this is an opportunity to give back to our community through a chicken sandwich."
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