By Michelle Cassell
Never let it be said that Shake Shack, a fast casual restaurant chain, doesn’t have a devoted fan base. Its grand opening and ribbon cutting on Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. in the Eastgate Crossing shopping center found dozens in line waiting for entry, even on a cold, rainy morning. The first 100 guests to arrive received gift cards and limited edition Shake Shack gifts.
“This is awesome. I love Shake Shack! Very happy it will be in Chapel Hill,” said Marcus Gear. They waited in line for about an hour before the doors opened.
The Gears weren’t alone. Early risers Laurie Baker and Patrick Apel of Chapel Hill were the first ones in line. The two and some friends had been there since 8:30 a.m., braving pouring rain and cold to ensure their place for prizes and food. Delight in their success was evident.
The celebration included a presentation by Aaron Nelson, secretary and CEO of The Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro, of a Chamber membership certificate to the new Shake Shack’s general manager, Adam Duncan. Nelson also provided congratulations on behalf of the Town of Chapel Hill.
Also on hand for the festivities, including the ribbon cutting, was Laura Malinchock, the board chair of PORCH Chapel Hill/Carrboro, a local hunger relief organization that has provided over $5 million in help to local residents since its founding in 2010. Shake Shack is donating $1 of every sandwich purchased on opening day to PORCH as part of its Stand for Something Good program.
Editor Terry E. Cohen contributed to this article.
Michelle Cassell is a seasoned reporter who has covered everything from crime to hurricanes and local politics to human interest over the course of 35 years. As assignment editor, she hopes to encourage writers of a wide range of backgrounds and interests in TLR’s coverage of Southern Orange County news.
Terry E. Cohen is the editor of The Local Reporter. She also writes articles for a global media firm on topics related to Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) in business and industry.