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ST. MARYS — An anchor of St. Marys Square celebrated three months of construction with cake, balloons and an appearance by one of the most recognizable characters in the world.
Jeff and Mary Monfort hosted a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday night to mark the completion of a renovation project at their McDonald’s restaurant at 1206 Indiana Ave. in St. Marys. Balloons hung from the rafters and visitors to the eatery enjoyed cake and had the chance to meet Ronald McDonald.
“Today is kind of the grand culmination of three months of remodeling, extensive remodeling,” Jeff Monfort told The Evening Leader. “Really we’ve taken care of a lot of issues as far as our customers.”
Among the chief issues addressed with the project was congestion during high-traffic times.
Often vehicles waiting for the drive-thru were backed up onto Indiana Avenue and vehicles exiting the restaurant were often forced to deal with long lines.
“We’ve widened the entrance,” Monfort said.
“We’ve been able to add 40 feet in the back of the parking lot, which allows us to reconfigure our drive-thru lane. We’ve been able to add side-by-side drive-thrus, which allows us to move our line quicker and more efficiently. What we’ve been able to do is fix our capacity issues, and now I think we are going to be even more efficient for our customers.”
In addition to the double drive-thrus, the Monforts upgraded the exterior and interior of the eatery.
New landscaping also was part of the project.
“I think it’s a good problem to have,” Monfort said of the expansion. “Reinvesting in your business and reinvesting in the community is all part of it — doing the right thing.”
During construction, Mary Monfort said she often directed traffic during peak volume hours. She said customers in recent weeks have commented to her how much they like the new layout.
“They were like cheerleaders in their cars,” she said.
“They said they couldn’t wait for their McDonald’s to be the double lane. The community was so much behind the project. They were going through it with us. They were behind us 100 percent the whole time ... We absolutely love St. Marys. They support us in everything we do. We just love being in their corner and in their town.”
Monfort called the ceremony “a celebration.”
“It’s a celebration for us, our crew, our managers and the community because we’ve all been looking forward to this day when we can just cut the ribbon and celebrate that everything is complete,” Monfort said.
“I think it looks beautiful. It’s a time to really celebrate.”
During the ceremony, St. Marys Mayor Pat McGowan commended the Monforts for reinvesting in St. Marys.
“I just wanted to thank Jeff and Mary for reinvesting in our community,” McGowan said.
“This is just one of the ways we can grow the city of St. Marys — by having our existing businesses that we have here grow internally. That’s a good sign for the health of the city.”
McGowan also praised the couple for using local contractors and for providing dozens of jobs to local residents.
“With this business here doing well, we think it’s going to bode well for the community,” McGowan said.
“As Jeff said, they used local contractors and those are jobs that were here. People earned that money and spent it.”
The Monforts also own McDonald’s restaurants in Wapakoneta, Celina and Coldwater. As part of the ceremony, the Monforts also donated $500 to Agape.