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New Dawson County Chicken Salad Chick officially open for business
CHICKEN SALAD CHICK RIBBON CUTTING.jpg
On Wednesday Feb. 9, the new Dawson County location of Chicken Salad Chick officially opened for business with a ribbon cutting and grand opening festivities. - photo by Erica Jones

On Wednesday Feb. 9, the newest location of the fast casual restaurant chain Chicken Salad Chick officially opened in Dawson County, complete with a ribbon cutting with the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, grand opening festivities and a fundraiser donation to Georgia Mountain Food Bank. 

The restaurant offers more than a dozen different flavors of made-from-scratch chicken salad, along with fresh salads, sides and soups. The new Dawson location also includes a drive through and a revamped pickup area for customers or delivery drivers to pick up orders. 

Scott Deviney, CEO of Chicken Salad Chick, said that opening a location in Dawson has been a long time in the making. 

“We’ve been looking in this market for years trying to find the right spot that would allow us be located so that people can get to us, and we were able to work with the landlord, found a spot and the fact that we have a drive through, pick up station and all of this in this one area is really exciting,” Deviney said. 

In a brief presentation preceding the ribbon cutting ceremony, Director of Company Operations Kim Bolinger said that, as a Dawson County resident herself, she couldn’t be more excited to have brought Chicken Salad Chick closer to home. 

“Personally I’m so excited for this opening of the Chick cause I live here,” Bolinger said. “I think what I’m most proud of is not only the team but we hired 52 team members at this location, and living here and seeing the impact it can have on this community is outstanding.” 

Chicken Salad Chick is a restaurant chain that consists of 208 restaurants, all of which are either franchise owned or company owned like the Dawson location, across 17 states. An important goal for the brand, according to COO Jim Thompson, is to be not just a business in a community but to be an integral part of the community. 

“We don’t look at ourselves as a business in the community, we wanna be partners in the community so we’re just excited to be here, to give back and to be a part of the community,” Thompson said. “Our model is really built around that; our most successful restaurants tend to be very involved in their communities and at the end of the day it’s about spreading joy, enriching lives and serving others and truly making a difference.” 

The restaurant strives to make a difference by partnering with nonprofits on the local level and helping to further their causes. Two of the brand’s biggest causes, Thompson said, are to feed the hungry and to help end childhood cancer. 

As a part of furthering the brand’s first cause, the Dawson County Chicken Salad Chick raised money through the restaurant’s “friends and family” days leading up to the grand opening. Friends and family of restaurant staff were invited to come try the food, free of charge, to give the new employees a chance to practice making and serving the food before the store officially opened. In return, the friends and family were given the chance to make a donation to the store’s fundraiser to Georgia Mountain Food Bank. 

During the ribbon cutting ceremony, representatives from Chicken Salad Chick were able to present representatives of the food bank with a check for $1840 that was raised during the friends and family days. According to Georgia Mountain Food Bank Operations Director Rebecca Thurman, this money will make a big difference for the food bank and the people they serve. 

“We service and oversee all the pantries and agencies in Hall, Dawson, Lumpkin, Forsyth and Union counties,” Thurman said. “We distribute about six and a half million pounds of food a year and every dollar equals five meals, so this will go a long way in that process.” 

Thompson said that this initial donation isn’t all that Chicken Salad Chick plans on doing to help Georgia Mountain Food Bank and other nonprofits like it. Each year, the restaurant sells “The Giving Card”, in which customers can pay $5 to receive a year’s worth of offers from Chicken Salad Chick. All of the money raised goes to benefit food banks like Georgia Mountain Food Bank, as well as organizations like CURE, a group dedicated to curing childhood cancer. 

Chief Marketing Officer Tom Carr said that partnering with local organizations and really engraining each restaurant into the local community is one of the things that really sets Chicken Salad Chick apart from other restaurants. 

“The team here is based in Dawson and very focused on being in the Dawsonville community in this area, so we love to partner with other businesses and other community service organizations in whatever way,” Carr said. “We have these amazing chicken salads made from scratch, but it’s that combined with the experience that we feel like sets us apart and that’s what we’re shooting for.” 

The team’s goal, Thompson said, is to make that experience positive for every customer who walks through the doors of the restaurant. 

“Our goal is when you come through the door, regardless of the type of day you’re having, we want you to leave here a whole lot happier,” Thompson said. “So if we can take a couple minutes out of your day and put a little sunshine in it we can make a difference.”

Susan Dotson, general manager of the new Dawson location, said that she’s lived in North Georgia for about 11 years and in Dawson for about five years. The most exciting thing to her, she said, is being able to bring the restaurant to her home community and really get to know the people in Dawson through Chicken Salad Chick. 

“It’s so so exciting; especially to be in this community,” Dotson said. “I look forward to meeting everybody, getting out there, fundraising, and I’m just really excited to get this all started.” 

Chicken Salad Chick is located at 12 Dawson Market Way in Dawsonville and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information about the restaurant, go to https://www.chickensaladchick.com/dawsonville-ga/.