McKays’ 50th anniversary challenge creates chaos, gridlock | Business


Mebanites living around the Mebane Oaks Road and I-40/I-85 interchange were met with chaos on the morning of Monday, July 9, as Mebane became the first stop for many in a multistate race to honor a local business’ 50th anniversary. 

McKays Books, which opened earlier this year along Wilson Road, held a 50th anniversary celebration on Tuesday, offering a challenge to patrons to receive approximately $800 of store credit to McKay’s if they were willing to visit each of the company’s five sites in Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, along with its two locations in North Carolina in Winston-Salem and now Mebane.  

“July 9 is McKays’ 50th anniversary,” read a company statement. “For each McKays location you visit that day, you will receive a unique stamp in your McKays passport and a prize!” 

The initial stop on the journey gave road trippers a passport to take along the entire five-store journey, with the second store providing a t-shirt. The third store provides $50 of McKays store credit, along with a travel mug and snack pack. 

Reaching the fourth store resulted in $250 store credit, as well as a commemorative poster, while reaching all five stores provided an additional $500 of store credit, resulting in $800 in total store credit for anyone who successfully visited all five stores between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., when the store closes. 

Apparently, a large number of Tennessee residents elected to take advantage of the eastern time zone in North Carolina to make Mebane their first top on the 570-mile journey to Nashville. 

By starting at the easternmost point, the Tennessee residents were able to take advantage of the switch to the central time zone later in the day, gaining an hour as they headed west towards McKays additional sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Nashville. 

With little to no advance warning of the impending surge of local traffic – and a large number of Tennesseans staying in local hotels and Airbnbs on July 8 in anticipation of Tuesday morning’s McKays opening at the Mebane location — the scene around Mebane Oaks Road and Wilson Road was one of utter chaos starting around 6 a.m., and lasting well into the morning. 

Consumers, largely from Tennessee and surrounding states, all eager to begin their five-store trek, converged on Wilson Road and Mebane Oaks Road in the early morning hours Tuesday, claiming every available parking space along the way as a massive line formed in front of McKays Books. Before long, people were parking cars along the side of the road and freeway, and walking towards the wholesale bookstore. 

By 9 a.m., Mebane Oaks Road was choked not just by traffic, parked cars, and pedestrians walking towards McKays, but by hundreds of cars stacked up along Exit 154 on I-40/I-85 attempting to turn onto Mebane Oaks Road. 

The area around Walmart, Chick-fil-A, and Wendy’s was virtually impassible for a couple of hours as the unique situation played out. The situation was exacerbated by work being conducted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation near the Sheetz along Mebane Oaks Road.  

By mid-morning, the Mebane Police Department advised residents that cars creating traffic concerns would be towed.  

“The Mebane Police Department is actively addressing congestion issues related to the McKay’s event on Wilson Rd and ongoing NCDOT work at the intersection of Mebane Oaks Road and Sheetz,” read the MPD’s statement on social media. “Our team is on-site coordinating with NCDOT and communicating with McKays management. We have asked McKays to inform event patrons that any vehicles parked along the roadway or obstructing traffic, creating a safety hazard, will be towed.”

“If you are traveling to the event in Mebane, please carefully consider your parking options,” the statement continued. “We are delighted to welcome visitors to enjoy all that Mebane has to offer, but public safety remains our top priority. Vehicles parked illegally or in a manner that compromises safety will be towed at the owner’s expense by rotational wreckers. Please ensure you park safely and legally to avoid any inconvenience.”

Around 1 p.m. on the afternoon of July 9, McKays Mebane announced that it was extending the deadline to midnight in order to safely accommodate those racing across Tennessee and North Carolina to take advantage of the store’s generous offer. 

“We encourage all participants to stay safe throughout their trip,” the company’s Facebook page stated. 

In addition, McKays announced that due to the incredible surge of humanity at the Mebane store and the long lines, participants in the Road Trip could skip Mebane and proceed on to Winston-Salem, meaning that a stamp from either North Carolina store would count for both North Carolina stores. However, those guests coming east from Tennessee would still have to visit all five stores in order to qualify. 

This mid-event change in policy naturally created some resentment among those who had prepared and were in the Mebane line early — as early as 6 a.m. in preparation for the 12-plus hour marathon journey — as well as those who began in Tennessee instead of Mebane.  

“There are people that waited in Mebane because they planned accordingly and didn’t get there late and then complain about the lines,” stated resident Rhonda Wilson’s on McKays Mebane’s Facebook page. “I think people have forgotten this is a contest and people expect to get everything with no effort.”

“Maybe next time this could be done over a week or month’s time, instead of just one day,” added fellow resident Michelle Rogers. “That would eliminate the traffic and line issues and would also allow more people to participate. I have safety concerns about people feeling the need to rush driving from state to state in one day, and standing in long lines in the hot sun.”

Although traffic subsided as the day wore on, another smaller surge came through towards the end of the evening, as those North Carolinians who decided to start in Tennessee made their final destination east. Traffic was again a concern later in the evening as residents raced towards Mebane in hopes of attaining the full $800 store credit promised by McKays Books.

Source link

You may also like