McDonald’s renovation popular with customers, staff

Charlie and Tricia Salebra got special permission from the McDonald’s Corporation to keep the brick mural featuring Ronald McDonald and the McDonald Land characters Patricia Turlington designed at the back of their restaurant in Jonesville.

Five-year-old Reid Frazier talks with McDonald’s owner Tricia Salebra in the renovated play section at the McDonald’s in Jonesville.

Charlie Salebra, from left, discusses the renovations with General Manager Michelle King and his wife/co-owner Tricia Salebra. Seated at the community table behind them is Margaret Simmons of Jonesville, who eats breakfast there regularly with Maylen Brewer.

Charlie and Tricia Salebra once owned 12 McDonald’s but have turned all but the Jonesville and Elkin restaurants over to their three children.

The McDonald’s renovations include a dual-point ordering system that allows customers to order from the right counter and see when their order is ready on a digital screen above the left counter, where they pick up their food.

JONESVILLE — McDonald’s of Jonesville has a new look, and it’s getting rave reviews.

Five-year-old Reid Frazier didn’t have time to share his opinion of the new play area, which features a separate space designated for toddlers. He was too busy enjoying it.

So his cousin, Faith Wooten, did it for him. “He loves it,” she said. “He doesn’t want to leave.”

Reid, who was having breakfast with Faith and their grandmother, Marie Hailey of Boonville, did pause long enough to talk about making doughnuts with Tricia Salebra, who owns the McDonald’s — located at 1625 N.C. 67 — with her husband, Charlie.

Tricia Salebra said the see-through tunnel allows family members to keep their eyes on children at all times while they are playing. “It’s also large enough now for adults to go through it if they need to help their children,” she said.

The size of the play area was reduced in the recent renovations, she said, to enlarge the restaurant’s seating capacity from 55 to 100 seats for Jonesville regulars and people getting off Interstate 77. “We have so many travelers that come through here from the interstate,” Tricia Salebra said, “and they need to get out and stretch their legs.”

Among the new features in the dining area is a community table with a long countertop and cafe-style stools with plug-ins available underneath and throughout the restaurant for free Wi-Fi connection. The wide range of table sizes and chair styles throughout the McDonald’s allows customers to choose the seating they prefer.

Jonesville residents Margaret Simmons and Maylen Brewer, who eat breakfast together regularly at the McDonald’s and order the same thing almost every time, chose to sit at the community table Thursday morning.

“I think it’s beautiful,” Simmons said of the restaurant’s new look.

McDonald’s of Jonesville will be offering “Buy One Get One FREE” specials every day but Thursday next week leading up to next Saturday’s Grand Re-Opening Celebration.

Thursday’s specials are gravy biscuits for 99 cents from 6 to 11 a.m. and 49-cent sundaes from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Radio announcers from 100.9 WIFM staff will be at the restaurant broadcasting live from 9 to 11 a.m.

Saturday’s grand celebration will feature an appearance by Ronald McDonald himself from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and a ribbon cutting by Jonesville Mayor Gene Pardue between noon and 1 p.m. Cones will be on sale for a quarter all day long, and drawings for an iPod Shuffle, Beats headset and Coca-Cola polar bear will be held in the lobby at 3 p.m.

Guests will be able to register for the drawing all during the week.

The Salebras, who also own the McDonald’s in Elkin, said they are very pleased with the renovations, including the new wallpaper featuring photos of wheat, fresh eggs, lettuce and other fresh vegetables used by the restaurant.

“Our back door product is the highest possible quality that you can buy,” Charlie Salebra said.

Word displays featuring menu offerings add an artistic flair to the wallpaper.

While the decor of some McDonald’s features bright colors, the Salebras chose more natural colors such as burnt orange, taupe and sea green for the restaurant’s seating areas.

“It’s a crisper look with new colors,” Tricia Salebra said. “It turned out really pretty. The colors give it a very comfortable, serene feeling in here.”

Employees of the McDonald’s also are excited about the renovations. “Everyone wants to be proud of where they work,” Tricia Salebra said, “and this is making them extra proud.”

Michelle King, general manager of the Jonesville restaurant, said employees love the new look. “They’re excited about having a new store and the lobby area and all the new seating and new equipment,” she said.

As part of the renovations, the long counter where customers placed their orders has been replaced by a dual-point ordering system. Tricia Salebra said customers now place their orders at a counter on the right and pick it up on a separate counter on the left when their order number appears on a digital screen above it.

This cuts down on congestion at the counter and allows customers to keep up with when their order is ready. King said her crew is trying to get the customers trained on where to place and pick up their orders.

As longtime owners of McDonald’s restaurants, Tricia Salebra said she and her husband like to stay up-to-date with the latest building styles developed by the McDonald’s Corporation. That’s why they replaced the light, tan brick exterior with the dark red brick.

The white stone accents and steel awnings added to the dark brick exterior were also part of the updated designs, but the Salebras asked for and received special permission to keep the brick mural in the back featuring Ronald McDonald and other McDonald Land characters.

The mural was created by Patricia Turlington. “It’s actual brick,” Tricia Salebra said, “and it’s in 3-D … It’s just awesome. Customers ask about it all the time and say how nice it is.

“It sets the Jonesville McDonald’s apart, makes it special.”

Tricia and Charlie Salebra, who live in Winston-Salem, said they met when they both started working at a McDonald’s in 1973. She started out making $1.80 an hour while Charlie made $2.

At one point, they owned 12 McDonald’s restaurants, and Charlie Salebra worked with the McDonald’s Corporation in Europe. Today, Tricia Salebra said they’re starting to slow down a bit. Now in their 60s, she and Charlie have turned all but the Jonesville and Elkin restaurants over to their children.

“It’s great being part of the Jonesville and Elkin communities,” she said. “We just love this area up here, and we’re hoping that everyone else enjoys it, too. We’ve been around a long time.”

Their three children all run McDonald’s restaurants, Tricia Salebra said. Their son, Mark, owns one in Dover, Delaware; their daughter, Christine Poppe, owns the ones in Yadkinville and Mocksville; and their daughter, Ginny Whan, owns restaurants in Rural Hall and Pilot Mountain along with one in Winston-Salem.

Tricia and Charlie Salebra have seven grandchildren, so she said there could be a third generation of McDonald’s owners in the future. “It’s generational for us,” she said. “Our whole family says that we have ketchup pumping through our veins instead of blood.”

Kathy Chaffin may be reached at 336-258-4058.

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