Blake Pate is the owner of the newly re-built Chick-fil-A on David H. McLeod Boulevard in Florence, known as the West Florence FSU location. After two years running as a Drive Thru Only location, the restaurant recently shut down for a rebuild in order to open as a dine-in facility to better accommodate the volume of customers. Blake was born and raised in Florence, graduated from Wilson High School and attended the University of South Carolina where he double majored in Marketing and Management. He is happily married to his wife, Annie, who is also a Florence native.
Blake has numerous years of experience with the brand. He began working at Chick-fil-A when he turned 15. His first job was at the Chick-fil-A inside Magnolia Mall working for his father, David Pate. David Pate brought Chick-fil-A to Florence in 1979 and was an Operator for 38 years. Blake had the pleasure and opportunity of taking over the Mall store from his father in 2009. After running the Mall Chick-fil-A for 6 years, he moved outside and took over the Magnolia Mall Drive Thru Only Chick-fil-A when his father retired.
Prior to the new building, Chick-fil-A existed on the corner of David H. McLeod Blvd as the Magnolia Mall Drive Thru Only location, which was built in 1994. “We have been trying to expand the Drive Thru for as many as 6 years,” explains Blake. “The DTO (Drive Thru Only) concept did not offer the type of service our customers have come to expect, so we knew we needed to change. A single entrance and exit, coupled with barely enough square feet to house our staff prompted our expansion. That and the fact that you couldn’t even get onto the parking lot on a busy day!” Expanding the restaurant was a tedious process, and they shut down for a necessary rebuild. Construction began February of 2018 and ended in May of 2018, with the whole process taking around four months total. For Blake, it seemed like ages! “To the community at large, it seems like it went up in the matter of a few days. However, when you are working right beside it, it seems like it takes forever. The anticipation and buzz it created was worth it, even with having a giant fence right next to us. People had been begging us for a change for so long. It was great to finally be able to show them something was happening.”
The restaurant reopened on June 21, 2018 with a facility big enough to handle the volume of customers. “It will take some time for us to become proficient in a brand-new restaurant, but we are confident we built the store big enough this time,” says Blake. “It has been a huge boon to our employees. Not only has the size of the kitchen tripled, but we have brand new canopies outside over our order-taking areas that are equipped with fans and heaters which keep our employees at a comfortable temperature no matter the time of the year! That allows us to be outside, serving guests face-to-face, and giving them an experience they can’t get anywhere else.” The restaurant includes a beautiful dining room with a play area attached for out-of-town guests, travelers, and locals to enjoy.
Blake truly appreciates his Chick-fil-A team and the positive influence they have on every customer they come in contact with. “I have been blessed to work with some of the most hard-working, dedicated, and gracious people throughout my life. I have employees that have worked at Chick-fil-A for around 35 years! Some of my employees babysat me when I was a kid, if you can believe it!” Blake believes the new store is just as much for them as it is for their customers. “Providing them with the space and tools necessary to do their jobs to the best of their ability has been awesome. After working in the Drive Thru for the past couple of years, the new building is amazing and the team sure does seem to enjoy it!”
2701 West David McLeod Blvd, Florence
(843) 665-1512 | www.chick-fil-a.com
Mon-Sat 6:30 am – 10 pm, Closed Sunday
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