Students, staff and administration celebrated the grand opening of the new Chick-fil-A Express restaurant on OBU's campus in Shawnee Tuesday, March 4. The ribbon cutting event was held at 1 p.m.
Randy Smith, OBU's executive vice president for business and administrative services, emceed the event and welcomed guests. Smith introduced Steve Plunkett, Chick-fil-A senior management consultant; Linda Agee, City of Shawnee Ward 2 commissioner; Brian McDougal, city manager of Shawnee; Tim Burg, Shawnee Economic Development Foundation executive director; Nancy Keith, Shawnee Chamber of Commerce president and CEO; Cindy Lantz, Shawnee Chamber of Commerce program director; Larry Johnston, CJC Architects CEO; Troy Jesseph, director of Chartwells services at OBU and a representative from Lingo Construction Service.
Plunkett briefly addressed the crowd next. Plunkett said he has been with the company for 32 years.
"We are honored to be here," said Plunkett. He said that Chick-fil-A has been so successful because the company's leadership "… sees no conflict between Biblical principles and effective business."
Plunkett also directly addressed the students in attendance, by encouraging them to, "Figure out who you are before you decide what to do." He said that was the key to Chick-fil-A's corporate success.
OBU president Dr. David Whitlock then shared a few brief remarks with the crowd. "We are so thrilled to be partnered with Chartwells, and we are so happy to bring Chick-fil-A on campus," Whitlock said. "Chick-fil-A has so much in common with OBU, as far as our values."
"We are excited also to be a partner with the city of Shawnee," Whitlock said. "We are likewise proud to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce and this great community."
Whitlock mentioned that the location is open to the public and has created 18 new jobs. It will also collect sales tax, which will be a benefit to the local economy.
Whitlock also referenced the university's partnership with Chartwells, who provides all campus dining services. He referenced what has already been accomplished this year with Chartwells, including the first floor remodel, Chick-fil-A, and more, as well as the future plans for expansion and renovation of the cafeteria space on the 2nd floor of the Geiger Center. Whitlock said that was due in large part to the great relationship between Chartwells and the university.
The ribbon cutting ceremony then commenced, with a green ribbon held across the store opening by Shaz, OBU's Bison mascot, as well as the Chick-fil-A cow. Ribbon cutters included Shawnee city manager Brian McDougal, Shawnee commissioner Linda Agee, Plunkett, Whitlock and Smith.