Chick-fil-A opens on Highway 30 this week

Halen Doughty

Chick-fil-A opens on Highway 30 in Gonzales on February 1, bringing 100 new jobs to the area. The grand opening will feature a community children's book drive benefitting Gonzales Middle School. The opening also boasts the First 100 event in which the first 100 adults to participate in the overnight campout could win a year's supply of free Chick-fil-A.

Twenty-four hours before the grand opening, a family-friendly overnight celebration will pop up in the parking lot. Guests will try to be one of the first 100 adults through the door to win a year of free Chick-fil-A meals. The community event it open to those residing in specific zip codes surrounding the restaurant.

The First 100 event is a tradition spanning more than 14 years. The celebration has given away more than $34 million in free food through 2017 and continues to be Chick-fil-A's signature grand opening event. Chick-fil-A fans arrive with tents, chairs, TVs, and computers to brave rain, snow, and extreme temperatures for their shot at the prize.

The prize up for grabs is a digital offer card loaded with a one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A meals, or 52 chicken sandwiches each with a medium waffle fry and medium drink. The cards will be awarded to the first 100 eligible adults who camped out until the grand opening in order to secure their spot.

Local franchise owner Cody Salomone is the son of local Chick-fil-A owner Greg Salomone. The Louisiana native seems to have Chick-fil-A in his DNA as he began following in his father's footsteps at the ripe old age of seven, when he began working Saturdays at his dad's restaurant. Salomone became an official team member at 16 when he went to work at North Shore Square Mall and received the Leadership Scholarship. He received the chain's top scholarship, the S. Truett Cathy Scholar Award, which was only awarded to 25 team members nationwide at the time. He went on to work at his fathers Baton Rouge location while continuing his education at LSU, where he graduated with a business and marketing degree.

Salomone was later selected for the Leadership Development Program where he traveled the country helping to open new restaurants and serving as interim manager at existing locations. In 2011, Salomone realized his dream to become an Operator at the Mall of Louisiana location. He ran that store for six years before transferring to the new Gonzales location. He will continue his role as Operator Consultant to the Southeastern Louisiana University location.

The entire Salomone family is involved with the company, as the family includes three Operators and four locations. Mother Cheryl and sister Amanda also work in the restaurants. Cody's brother, Chris, operates a stand-alone restaurant in Kenner. There is more than 100 years of Chick-fil-A experience among the Salomones, including Cody's wife, Chelsea, who oversees the leadership development team members.

Cody and Chelsea have lived in Ascension Parish for the past three years with their three young children. They look forward to serving their friends and family in the community they love and call home.

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