WICHITA — Commercial broker and Chick-fil-A fanatic Cory Harkleroad started a one-man campaign to bring more of the restaurants to Wichita, but two weeks after creating a Facebook page to promote the idea he has more than 7,000 friends who have joined him.
“It just went crazy,” says Harkleroad, the managing director of KW Commercial.
“Anytime you can get 7,000 people . . . that’s a pretty solid message to me.”
There’s a Chick-fil-A at Wichita State University, but Harkleroad says the menu and hours are limited, and it’s not easily accessible to the average diner.
Harkleroad is encouraging his new friends to bombard Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A with requests to bring more of the restaurants here.
“I really think the best thing that could happen is everybody just flood the Chick-fil-A site with requests.”
His Facebook page has inspired comments such as these:
“i moved to overland park and they have them all over up here, i can never move back to wichita now.”
“I would easily be Chick-Fil-A’s number one fan. I have to drive to Dallas just to get their great chicken nuggets!”
People also have made a lot of promises about how many times a week they’d eat there.
One person notes that the much-smaller Augusta, Ga., has several Chick-fil-A restaurants.
“how is that fair?”
There’s a little taunting on the page as well.
“Haha, i got one right here in denver, SUCKERS!”
Harkleroad has been in regular communication with real estate representatives for Chick-fil-A.
He says he’s been told the chain is looking for two east-side sites and one in the 21st and Maize area.
“It really comes down to the real estate,” Harkleroad says. “They want to get the location they want, and they’re not going to accept a location that’s anywhere else than where they want it to go.”
Harkleroad is hoping his campaign might help convince the chain to accept second-choice spots instead of waiting for its No. 1 spaces to open.
No one with Chick-fil-A could be reached for comment.
Though he’s a commercial broker, Harkleroad isn’t representing Chick-fil-A in its Wichita search.
“This is going to be my charity case for the year — my commitment to the Wichita community.”