A gleaming new McDonald’s restaurant will soon replace the existing building on Central Avenue, but Tuesday’s closing of the existing restaurant brought back memories and emotions for all who were there for the final meal.
McDonald’s Crew Trainer Shawntrell Dorris was working the front cashier’s position on Tuesday as the final customers ordered their meals.
She said she’ll miss the old building because it was a tie to a loved one she lost.
“I lost my brother in 1985 and this was the last place I saw him,” Dorris said as she waited on those last customers on Tuesday. “I brought my boys here and they all worked here at some time. Watching this building come down will be hard because there are so many memories, but I’m glad I got to close it down.
Charles Royer was the next to the last customer to order a meal inside the building just before 6 p.m. on Tuesday when it closed its doors for the final time.
“I was here when it first opened and I used to hang out here all the time,” Royer said. “I have a lot of memories here, but I’m looking forward to seeing what the new one will be like. Things change and we’ll go on.”
McDonald’s Owner Joe Coss was on hand with a crew of employees to start moving appliances and other equipment out of the building to get ready for a public auction, scheduled for today.
Coss said his history with the current building goes back to before he and his wife bought it from his father-in-law, Bob Jennings, in the 1990s.
“I grew up in this old building and started here as a crew person with one of those old paper hats in 1990,” Coss said as he prepared to lock the door on the final shift. “Then I worked at the store at 13th and Range Line when I was promoted to management. We moved to Frontenac and ran the north Pittsburg store for several years before we came back here to Carthage. Both of us were general managers here before we got the opportunity to buy the store from her dad.”
Coss said the Central Avenue store has been an anchor for his company. He also opened a store in the back of the Walmart store in south Carthage when it first opened, then they closed that store and opened the current location in the convenience store at Fir and Hazel.
“There are a lot of memories for us in this building,” he said. “I remember when McDonald’s introduced pizza. When McDonald’s does something, it goes all in, so we had to remodel to fit the pizza ovens. And then there’s the people.”
Page 2 of 2 - Some customers came to McDonald’s before 6 p.m. on Tuesday, specifically to buy a last meal in the building that has stood on Central for 38 years.
“I don’t normally come here in the evening,” said Chris Vandegevel, who was eating a burger and fries with friends at about 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday. “I usually come here in the morning, but I decided to come here one last time today.”
Austin Willis, Jed Stevens, Trevor O’Kane, and Richard Perry came in as group at about 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday with the goal of being the last to buy a meal in the building. O’Kane currently works in the store and Stevens is a former employee.
Willis and Stevens decided to wear plastic horse heads when they placed their order — just for the heck of it.
“We just wanted to be here,” O’Kane said.