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Avedisian, Fung, Welcome Chick-fil-A to Rhode Island

Warwick, RI – Chick-fil-A’s first Rhode Island restaurant at 1500 Bald Hill Road opened for business at 9 a.m. Thursday, welcomed by city officials including Warwick and Cranston’s mayors and a flag-raising by the Warwick Fire Department.

“They took a tired old building and turned it into a new business venture,” said Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian after the flag-raising by WFD’s Rescue Lt. Mike Carreiro and Firefighter Christian Henrikson and a moment of silence in observance of the approaching anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“We look forward to your great success at this building.” Cranston Mayor Alan Fung, a friend of franchise owner Toushoua Xiong, “We’re so proud to have you here providing a great product,” Fung said to his friend.

Also on hand to welcome the new business were City Councilor Camille Vella-Wilkinson, Warwick Director of Tourism, Culture & Development Karen Jedson, and President/CEO of the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce Lauren Slocum.

Xiong, who noted his application was one of 80 Chick-fil-A franchises approved by each year out of some 10,000, said he lobbied to open the store in Warwick.

“They said, ‘Where do you want to move?’ I said, ‘I don’t want to move,’ Xiong told the crowd. Xiong’s family, including his wife, Pang, children Ella, 7 and Nathaniel, 10, his parents Ger and Chang and Pang’s parents Tia and Xee Kha were also present for the grand opening, which culminated in a group ribbon cutting, followed by a photo of them and the assembled officials enjoying Chick-fil-A sandwiches together.

Xiong said he retired from his state job at the RI Department of Health to open the franchise, seeking a new direction as a businessman. “Some people get a sports car. I get a franchise,” he said.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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