Demopolis McDonald’s to be demolished, rebuiltBy Jeremy Smith Published 4:38pm Saturday, June 16, 2012
Local fast food enthusiasts will have one less option in the coming months as McDonald’s in Demopolis will be torn down in July.
The destruction of the current property is the precursor to a complete overhaul of the facility that is planned to culminate in October.
“July 9 is supposed to be the ground break, which I think, talking to the area construction manager, that’s when they will begin to tear the old building down. Usually that only takes a couple of days,” Michelle Orwig, who owns and operates the restaurant along with her husband Bob, said of the scheduled work.
Grove Hill residents, the Orwigs purchased the Demopolis store in 2006. The couple has intended for a remodel since completing the transaction.
“The building is over 30 years old and it’s long past time,” Orwig said. “McDonald’s wants operators to rebuild periodically. Usually the life of a restaurant is no more than 20 years. Mr. Tom Cunningham had it for years and years and years and sold it and we bought it in 2006. We’ve had it long enough that it is inevitable that we have to have new facilities and a new design.”
The restaurant will be repositioned on the existing property at the corner of Walnut Street and U.S. Highway 80.
“We’re going to reconfigure the building on the property so it is going to be easier to get in an out of,” Orwig said. “The new building will be re-positioned and will offer more seating and a two-lane, double drive through.”
In addition to the practical changes to the facility, the redesigned McDonald’s will have offer a new aesthetic as it takes on a more modern look.
“We are excited to offer a new building to reflect the beautiful town of Demopolis. The new décor will include photographs that will reflect the rich history of the town, seating for approximately 85, and will have two interactive computer game consoles,” Orwig said, also noting that the revamped restaurant will be similar to the recently redesigned store in Jackson.
While McDonald’s and its almost iconic menu items will be absent from the Demopolis dining landscape for some 80 days, the biggest impact may be felt by the restaurant’s employees.
“We will keep all of the managers and maintenance and we will begin training pretty much when the store closes to retrain for the new facilities.
“We’ll actually have to have more employees when we reopen for the new facility. So we’ll be hiring in August. Many of the 40 current employees will be offered a position at the nearest restaurant in our company in Thomasville while the restaurant is being built,” Orwig, who also owns McDonald’s franchises in Thomasville, Jackson and Monroeville, said. “In August, hiring will begin to staff the restaurant which will require 80-90 employees to fully staff.”
Tom Cunningham built the existing McDonald’s and operated it until his retirement approximately a decade ago.