Chick-fil-A McAlester closer to opening

·4 min read

Aug. 15—Ron Buckley said a new Chick-fil-A restaurant is getting closer to an official opening.

The Chick-fil-A McAlester owner/operator said opening date is still not set — but he said the location nearing completion at the Shops at McAlester is aiming for a grand opening in the next couple of months.

"We're not going to be ready for the beginning of football season, but we're going to be ready for the middle of football season," Buckley said.

Buckley said supply chain issues caused some delays, but construction workers made a lot of progress in the last three weeks.

An awning is over the two-lane drive-thru — which Buckley said will fit roughly 50 cars at a time.

He said a lot of the building is constructed and "we're looking good" — although that's subject to change.

The closest Chick-fil-A locations to McAlester prior to the newest store's to-be-determined opening include 51 miles away in Ada and 61 miles away in Muskogee.

"We're super excited to bring Chick-fil-A to McAlester," Buckley said.

Buckley grew up around Elk City before serving in the Air Force for 28 years — serving as Brig. Gen., deputy director of operations for U.S. Northern Command, deputy director for operations in the National Military Command Center, and more.

He earned a bachelor's in engineering mathematics from Air Force Academy in 1989, a master's two years later at Columbia University in New York, completed squadron officer school in 1996 and Air Force Test Pilot School in 2000. He also earned a master's in military operational art and science in 2002, and a master's in strategic studies in 2009.

Buckley retired from the military then worked a few years for Amazon in Reno, Nev., before he and his wife moved to Norman a year ago and then he got the job with Chick-fil-A McAlester in May.

"The thought was always to try to get back to Oklahoma and to be able to do that in a fashion where I bring in Chick-fil-A, America's favorite restaurant, in for the community, it's was super exciting for my and my wife," he said.

Buckley said the location will hire about 100 full- and part-time jobs. Applications are open and he said interviews will take place in the coming weeks.

He said a leadership team will be developed with an executive director or general role, along with marketing, human resources and other positions.

He said the location is looking for kitchen staff, customer service representatives and more to give customers and enjoyable experience.

"We're building quite a hospitality forum for people to feel welcome and families to come in and enjoy their time," Buckley said.

Buckley said full-time positions will start at the $13 per hour minimum, part-time positions will be paid based on experience, and leadership positions will come with higher pay.

Anyone interested can text "CFA" to 918-351-2638 or find an application online at the Chick-fil-A McAlester Facebook page.

The News-Capital reported in 2018 that Chick-fil-A was among businesses targeted for the shopping center and reported in 2021 when the company reached an agreement with developers on a McAlester location.

Shops at McAlester is being developed by Burk Collins and Co. via Tax Increment Financing, or a TIF agreement, with the McAlester City Council and Pittsburg County commissioners.

Collins agreed to construct the shopping center and a traffic signal at his own expense. He also will collect 90% of the city and county's sales tax revenue from businesses at the site for either five years or until he collects $5 million.

The News-Capital reported in March that the five-year / $5.5 million countdown started after Starbucks became the first business to open at the site.

Plans for the multi-tenant building next to Starbucks call for a Tropical Smoothie in 1,800 square feet, a 2,500-square-foot T-Mobile, and room for two more tenants.

Burke's Outlet opened in late March and Hobby Lobby opened on April 1 as the anchor stores. TJ Maxx, Ross and Rack Room Shoes also opened this summer.

Crews continue working on Ollie's Bargain Outlet, Five Below, and Jiffy Lube planned at the site.

Developer Burk Collins previously told the News-Capital other businesses committed to the Shops at McAlester include Ross, Old Navy, Ollie's Bargain Outlet, Burger King, and others.

Contact Adrian O'Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com