WAPAKONETA — Mary Monfort, half of the wife-husband tandem that own several area McDonald’s restaurant chains, once said, “We like to be in your corner, not on your corner.”
Patrons visiting the Wapakoneta restaurant that the couple own will now find that corner to the east by just a few yards.
A little more than 100 onlookers gathered and watched as the McDonald’s building that has stood since the 1970s came tumbling down as demolition crews worked. Jeff and Mary Monfort are are building a new building just next door, at the former location of Ponderosa on Bellefontaine Avevue.
“We had been looking at doing this for a couple of years,” Jeff Monfort said. “We were finally able to get the pieces together and get it done.”
The new building is nearing completion. The old store made its final sale Sunday night before being tore down Wednesday.
“It’s kind of hard to watch it come down,” Monfort said. “It’s a lot of memories, but if we didn’t do this, we wouldn’t have the new store.”
Monfort said the construction on the new building is slightly ahead of schedule and hoped to have the restaurant opened in a week to 10 days. The length of the layover depended on time to complete inspections, to get permits and have the Auglaize County Health Department give its go-ahead. Monfort said he was hoping for the drive-thru of the new restaurant to open by Tuesday. He estimated it would take about another three weeks to open the doors for sit-down visitors.
The Monforts were operating McDonald’s restaurants out West for some time when a unique opportunity arose for them to own stores in Wapakoneta and Celina in 1995.
That chance has turned into opportunity for many others beyond the thriving business-owning pair that has since opened restaurants in Coldwater and St. Marys as well. The couple are known for their donations to various community events in the area and they are looking forward to continuing that from the new location. The charitable events and sponsorship practices of the Monforts raised enough eyebrows that they were awarded the Wapakoneta Area Business of the Year Award in 2009 by the Wapakoneta Area Chamber of Commerce.
Jeff Monfort said the efficiencies of the new building will allow for better service and a better overall dining experience.
“The first thing we thought about was the staff level and having the right equipment in the right place,” Jeff Monfort said.
The new restaurant will also offer the double drive-thru and recharging stations with USB ports for WiFi users.
“It is much more convenient,” Monfort said.
Jeff Monfort said the efficiency of the new store will also create more jobs for the community.
“We are not sure exactly on numbers,” he said, “but we are sure we will need more and be adding some employees.”