By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The newest McDonald’s restaurant opened on Eason Boulevard at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, and by midmorning, the parking lot was jammed.
It’s the response franchise owner Rob Hudson was hoping for. His newest restaurant replaced the well-used store on South Gloster Street in front of Kilgore’s Supermarket.
“Everything went off without a hitch,” he said. “On Monday, we had a family gathering with our employees and their families to test everything out, and we had a great time. Everything worked like it was supposed to.”
With 100 employees, the Eason location also doubled the number of employees from the old store.
“We hope the volume can sustain that number and we think it can,” Hudson said. “It’s a great location.”
The restaurant is off Highway 45, across from Cooper Tire, close to Itawamba Community College’s Tupelo campus and near other businesses in the area.
Like other new McDonald’s restaurants, this one sports a contemporary look inside and out. It also has double drive-throughs and no playground.
As for the South Gloster location, which was filled with memorabilia including Happy Meal toys through the years, Hudson has quietly sold much of its contents, donating the proceeds to charity. A few items remain.
The building is owned by McDonald’s Corp., and the company will be “debranding” it in order to sell or lease in the future, Hudson said.
Hudson has opened three new McDonald’s locations since 2010, but said it’s time to take little breather. Hudson’s company, Hudson Management Corp., has the franchise locations in Tupelo, Saltillo, New Albany and Pontotoc.
“We’ve been talking for some time about renovating, and possibly building a replacement for our Pontotoc store,” he said. “But right now we just want to catch our breath.”