By: Shelly Robinson | Category: Special Interest | Issue: August 2011
McDonald’s employees Beverly Lossing and Daniel Schwartz love spending time together and expect the volunteer experience to enrich all involved.
If you’ve been down 76th Street in Owasso during the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed that the McDonald’s is gone. What you may not know is the story behind the demolition and rebuilding that is taking place.
Tim and Patty Rich, owners of all three Owasso-area McDonald’s, closed the original location July 13, had it demolished July 18 and are in the process of rebuilding it for a fall re-opening. “It needed to be done,” Rich explains. “This store opened in 1982 and though it’s been well-maintained, it is time to completely rebuild it and take advantage of new technology.”
Everything in the store will be completely new, including the latest and greatest equipment, and will have a contemporary look featuring stainless steel equipment to rival any Food Network set. “It’s really exciting – we will be the first McDonald’s in Oklahoma built with the new design.” The double-lane drive through and Playland will be included in the new design, and Tim says they will be able to maintain the mature landscaping around the outside of the parking lot.
Store manager Shannon McDonald (no relation to Ronald) says there are 68 people currently employed at the 76th Street location, and when the store is reopened, they expect to see that number increase to about 90.
You may be wondering what those current employees will be doing while the store is being rebuilt. Training sessions will be held at alternate locations so that employees are ready to use the new equipment from day one. A couple of the employees will be attending the capstone training for McDonald’s, known as Hamburger University, graduation from which enables the employee to manage a store. Others will take vacation time. Those activities are expected, but here is where the story becomes really interesting.
Tim says that when he and his wife Patty were making plans to rebuild the store, the impact on their community and the McDonald’s staff was a top priority. “We have great employees, and we want to take care of them and keep them working with us at McDonald’s,” he explained. “We have offered our entire 76th Street staff an opportunity to continue working, at their regular salary, at either of our two other locations or by volunteering in the community.”
Tim and Patty spoke with City Manager Rodney Ray about possible programs to offer assistance, and then sat down with long-time employees Harry and Beverly Lossing to discuss where they felt they could best benefit the community.
The Baptist Village, which incorporates independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care for seniors, topped the list. The campus also includes the Baptist Children’s Home. Harry and Beverly live at the Village, and the McDonald’s family has hosted a Christmas morning breakfast for the kids and their families at the Baptist Children’s Home for many years. Seniors who aren’t with family for the holiday are also invited to attend, and Tim says last year was their biggest turnout so far, with about 250 in attendance. “We feel so connected to them. Our employees cook the breakfast and we have such a good time. The Baptist Village was an easy choice.”
He also says Owasso Community Resources weighed on his heart. “They do so much for people in this community who are really in need. They provide a food pantry and have clients who speak languages other than English and Spanish, so that is a need our Hmong-speaking employees may be able to assist with. They have a very small staff of volunteers, and do a tremendous amount of work. We felt our employees could really make a difference there.”
Tim shared that he and Patty have seen the good work done by the Pregnancy Resource Center of Owasso. Not only does the Center provide mentors and advocates throughout the pregnancy, they offer educational classes on parenting, nutrition, budgeting, and life skills. The non-profit, volunteer agency also offers maternity and infant clothing, diapers, formula, car seats and infant furniture, which can be purchased with “Mommy Money” that is earned by attending educational classes.
Last but not least is McDonald’s neighbor, the Owasso Community Center. The Center is a hub of activity for area seniors and groups of all kinds. McDonald’s holds its quarterly “thank you” potluck dinners at the center, and Tim says it’s truly a remarkable facility that provides a place for so many to socialize, share a meal and feel a part of this wonderful city we call home.
The directors of the chosen programs are thrilled, and so are the McDonald’s employees who are taking part. Daniel Schwartz, 17, is a senior at Claremore High School and has been with McDonald’s for over three years. He thinks it is a wonderful idea and plans to volunteer at the Evergreen Care Center at the Baptist Village, where his great-grandmother, Faye Harmon, is a resident. He already visits regularly and sees the needs of those who don’t have family to visit often. “I think it will be a very valuable experience for the residents and also for the employees who don’t normally do this kind of thing. Seniors have so much wisdom to offer.”
Tim says that Daniel is a great example of the young people who make up the majority of the McDonald’s workforce. “Teenagers sometimes get a bad rap, but we see a lot of great kids who are a valuable asset to the community. We want to use this opportunity to tap into their individual gifts and help them find a good fit.”
Until the location on 76th Street reopens, you can find all your favorites at the location inside the Owasso Walmart or at intersections of Highways 20 and 169. Both are open 24 hours a day and waiting to serve you with a smile.