McDonald’s employees in limbo serve community

Griseldi Razo, Rhiannon Findley, Nicholas Fetos and Kylee Lamarr pick up trash along Union Drive in Evanston. They chose to do community service between the time that the old McDonald’s closed and the new one opens. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — Shari and Darrell Troester and their son Blake are the owners and operators of the McDonald’s in Evanston. The Troesters are employers who demonstrate a genuine concern for the welfare of their employees. They also are the kind of business people who believe in giving back to the community in which they are located.

According to Shari Troester, in a telephone interview with the Herald, the construction of the new building for the local McDonald’s from start to finish will take 120 days. She said they were concerned about their staff being without wages for several weeks when they closed the old building, but weren’t ready to open the new facility.

“My husband and I both started working at McDonald’s when we were 16 years old. We grew up with the business and now that we are owners, we want to be the kind of employers that we would want to work for,” Troester said.

The Troesters own eight McDonald’s restaurants — the one in Evanston and seven others in the Utah. They live in Murray, Utah. 

The Troesters managed to design the location of the new Evanston facility so they could continue to keep the old one open and their employees working for as long as possible. When it was necessary to close the old facility, Shari Troester said they gave their employees the option of the time off without pay or they could receive full wages if they did community service work. Many of their employees took the choice to continue their employment when the old building was shut down on July 29. Those employees have since spent many hours working in different entities throughout the community.

McDonald’s employees were divided into several crews to help with service projects. One group went to the Machine Shop and Roundhouse and set up and later took down tables and chairs for the recent Roundhouse Festival. Several crews helped to clean lockers and dust at Davis Middle School; they washed tables, chairs and windows at the Uinta Senior Center; picked up trash along Union Drive with a city crew; washed seats, vacuumed and dusted at Evanston High School auditorium; and will be helping at the Relay for Life event on Saturday, Aug. 10.

Jordan Simmons, lead custodian, and Nannett Hill, custodian at Evanston High School, both said they were thrilled to get the extra help as the remodeling there has created a lot of extra work and they are on a time crunch with school starting in a few weeks.

When the old McDonald’s facility was shut down, the Evanston Fire Department was given permission to use it for a practice exercise. They had fake smoke coming from the building and cut a hole in the roof and busted out doors, all the while demonstrating a simulated fire and rescue operation. The next day, a construction company came in and demolished the building and removed it.

Shari Troester said they plan on hosting a family night celebration on Aug. 21 for employees, their families and members of the local organizations where the crews worked. Opening day of the new McDonald’s for the public will take place on Thursday, Aug. 22, if all plans continue on schedule.

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