Pat Gallagher/The Valdosta Daily Times

In an attempt to entice customers to KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), the company paid Oprah handsomely to promote its new line of grilled chicken, the “unfried side” of KFC.

And it worked. Very, very well. But please don’t think Oprah is paying for it. She is just endorsing it. KFC is footing the bill. Unfortunately the overwhelming response has taken the national food chain by such a storm, the coupons can no longer be honored the day they are presented, but will be honored by KFC.

According to Tim Harris, VP of the local company that owns the three locations in Valdosta, “Starting today, all over the nation, we’ve started giving rain checks. Customers present their coupon to us and they have to fill out a coupon with their name and address. KFC will mail them a coupon for the free meal, plus add a free drink to it to make up for their inconvenience.”

Apparently Oprah made the announcement on her television show, but not a lot of folks had gotten the message yet late Friday.

“The company predicted that each store would give away about 125 meals a day. The promotion is for two weeks, except for Mother’s Day,” said Harris.

“The day Oprah’s show aired, on Tuesday at 4 p.m., we averaged about 125. But the next day it went up to almost 800 per day, per store, company wide, and has continued at that pace every day, which equates to 4.5 million meals nationwide in just a couple of days, or more than 9 million pieces of chicken.”

The stores began running out of “everything” including the boxes to pack the meals in, so the decision was made to mail customers coupons instead.

“Please be patient with us. We will honor our commitment, but it won’t be the day you bring the coupon in. We will send you a coupon and give you a raincheck. In addition, if you’d like to go ahead and purchase the new grilled chicken meal, we are selling it for $3.99 and the drink will be free.”

Harris said this is by far the largest response Oprah’s ever had to one of her promotions. “KFC wanted everybody in America to try the new grilled chicken.”

They just about have. If you’ve gone by a KFC in the last several days, cars have been stacked up waiting to get in.

So I guess the moral of the story is, if you want to promote something, hire Oprah to do it, but be careful, because you may get more from it than you can handle!

Green Day!

Citizens Community Bank (CCB) and the city of Hahira are hosting the First Annual Green Day next Saturday, May 16.

If you’re like me, you have a ton of old papers, bank statements, etc., that you have never gotten around to disposing of and you don’t want to just throw them in the trash. So from 9 a.m. to noon, you can visit the caboose in Hahira where the ShredEx truck will be and dispose of your documents.

And if you have recyclables, you can bring them too. There will be a place for plastics, aluminum, and boxes as well.

I also understand that this is a town effort, and if you wear a green shirt that day, you will get various discounts or prizes at local shops. Hahira is always up for an event, so there will also be grilled sausage and other refreshments available on site.

Help keep Hahira beautiful!

Business Roundup

The new art gallery going in downtown, Kaleidoscope, is having its grand opening Friday, May 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store, located on North Ashley Street, will offer a collection of original art by local, regional and national artists, along with fine art portraits by Fay Bridges Hyatt and watercolor by Suzanna Winton.

Also downtown, please read this section’s cover story about Client Tell today. They are a 10-year-old business that is finally getting some recognition in town, but they’ve also redone what is apparently Valdosta’s oldest building on North Patterson Street next to Glo. They’re having a grand opening on June 4.

Another grand opening this week is Tuesday evening at Fellowship Home, located out Highway 133 towards Morven. They are celebrating the newly completed residential suites. The SAFT hybrid-battery plant that Valdosta was in the running for is going to Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Fla., instead. The access to the ports, railroads, highways, and international airport, plus the incentives the state provided, helped sway the decision apparently. The current plant will stay here.

The SGMC emergency-room transition this week went well, and the new management company is up and running.

There is a new place on East Hill Avenue next to Old South BBQ that says it’s the Catfish House. It’s basically a trailer in a field, but there’ve been cars lined up and people all around it this week, so it must be doing well.

The letters were being placed on the front of the Lowndes County Judicial Complex Friday, and the finishing touches are going on inside with an anticipated move date of sometime in the next few months.

That’s about it for this week, but if there’s something I missed, please let me know. Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

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