JOHN DAY – The Oct. 31 closure of McDonald’s restaurant in John Day saddened many in the community, including the owner, 18 employees and the patrons.
Jorge Ribeiro of Burns, who owned the restaurant, said he doesn’t know when it will be torn down.
“They asked us to be out within two weeks of closing,” he said, adding they just finished dismantling everything, inside and out.
He expects the building to be demolished sometime this month.
Ribeiro said corporate officials made the decision to close the restaurant, although he tried to talk them out of it, based on the “low economics of the situation,” and because they are reaching the end of a 20-year lease on the property owned by the D.R. Johnson family.
“The biggest thing – I’m going to miss all the regular customers I’ve had over the past 15 years that I’ve owned the restaurant, and all my great employees,” Ribeiro said.
“I was very happy to see that several found jobs elsewhere,” he added.
Ashley Pompa was a crew trainer and worked at McDonald’s for over nine years.
“There were a bunch of people who were totally devastated that we were closing,” she said.
This includes a group of regulars they nicknamed the “morning breakfast club,” she said. “They would show up at 6 a.m., and they all wanted coffee right at 6.”
She said the adjustment to the layoff and closure was difficult.
“It’s very sad,” she said. “I have two little ones, and I was really worried about finding a job and how to support my kids – it’s been rough.”
She said she’s kept busy staying involved at church.
With help from WorkSource Oregon she found a job at Chester’s Thriftway.
Several McDonald’s employees livened up their last day of work, dressing up for Halloween.
Pompa had ghost makeup, another was “Jason” (from the horror movies) and another made light of their situation, wearing a cardboard “Will work for food” sign around his neck.
The restaurant closed early that night to allow workers to take kids trick-or-treating.
“It’s going to be missed,” Pompa said of her former workplace.
Still, she said she has a positive outlook with her new job.
“I feel confident,” she said. “I’ve worked for McDonald’s for nine years, and I’m experienced with customer service.”