LEWISBURG — The new Lewisburg McDonald’s was not just refreshed but rebuilt.
So noted Jason Rippon, president of Rippon Enterprises, who along with employees guided guests through a preview of the new store Monday.
Business began for real at 6 a.m. today at Route 15 and Hospital Drive in Kelly Township.
Technical advances in the new from-the-ground-up McDonald’s included kiosks for quick ordering and payment and a food production line designed to assure quicker completion of orders.
Rippon stressed that the automation has not taken jobs from employees thanks to among other things, the addition of table service.
“We’ve already hired 25 additional people here,” Rippon said. “And we are still hiring.”
Rippon said a Natural Integrity decor package was ordered and installed. It looked good and featured lot of natural wood and pleasant places to sit.
“It will take some maintenance,” he said. “We’ll have to make sure we oil this stuff down. But there are nice clean lines and a nice modern appearance.”
Bench seating sits opposite the beverage dispenser. Rippon said the stadium-style array was a European design and well suited to the bus traffic and big groups they get.
“If we have a bus, I would think they would all collect (at the bench),” Rippon said. “You’d get your drink and sit there. When the coach says time to go, you’d grab your bags and go.”
Rippon noted that 50 cents for every Slushie sold through the end of the month will go to support the Union County Veteran’s 4th of July Parade and committee. Manny Piña, committee member and Iraq War veteran, was once a McDonald’s manager. Adjusting to a leg lost in combat, Piña has applied to be a member of Rippon’s team once again.
Rippon added that the project cost about $3 million, much of it self-financed with some matching financing coming from the McDonald’s corporation. He trusts that all will work together and make the store a success.
“Something that rings true that I learned from my father is it’s ‘people before profits.’ That’s why I kept all my people on,” Rippon said. “I’m taking care of my people first, and they will take of my customers. That’s just the way it works and the way I was taught. The profits will come.”
Staff Writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at email@example.com.