McDonald’s Makes It [Almost] Official

Village Manager Bill Barlow, Theresa Kelly, Mayor Perkins, Ronald McDonald, Princess Dempsey, Jan Nelson
Village Manager Bill Barlow, Theresa Kelly, Mayor Perkins, Ronald McDonald, Princess Dempsey, Jan Nelson

By Michael Romain

As cars were pulling into the parking lot of the new McDonald’s on 5th and Roosevelt, the landscapers were still laying down mulch. Into this newness walked Village trustees Michael Rogers, Toni Dorris, Melvin Lightford and Audrey Jaycox; park district commissioners Dawn Williams-Rhone and Terrence Jones; Mayor Edwenna Perkins; Village Manager William Barlow; District 209 board member Theresa Kelly; State Rep. Chris Welch; outgoing Maywood Police Chief Tim Curry; Village clerk Viola Mims; heads of various Village departments; and other community leaders to celebrate the international chain’s unofficial opening (the restaurant officially opened at 5am this morning).

Barbara Cole, Executive Director of Maywood Youth Mentoring (MYM), walked in with several of her mentees and walked out with a check from owners Ray and Jan Nelson, which will cover some of her organization’s expenses throughout the summer. The donation was the result of a recommendation made by Village Manager William Barlow. “As he shared it with me, when he was asked by [Mrs. Nelson] to recommend an organization, MYM came to mind,” Ms. Cole said. “That means a lot to us.”

Hines Fisher House and the Ronald McDonald House, both institutions that sit on the grounds of the medical campus across the street from the restaurant, were also beneficiaries of charitable donations made by the Nelsons. The couple’s company, RJ Nelson Enterprises, operates eight other west suburban McDonald’s franchises in towns such as Bellwood, Oak Park and Forest Park.

Future patrons of the new 24-hour McDonald’s should expect to see some updated features, such as energy-efficient appliances, digitized menu boards, LED lighting and a more efficient ordering system (all registers are on the right side, while more space on the left side is dedicated to pickups and features an electronic screen that alerts customers that they’re food is ready. It’s an arrangement that may rid us, once and for all, of the confusion symbolized in that ubiquitous question: “You order yet?”).

Princess Dempsey, proprietor of Dempsey Staffing Firm, based in Westchester, facilitated the hiring process for the new McDonald’s. Her company helped recruit and screen the restaurant’s approximately 65 employees, virtually all of whom reside in the Proviso Township area. Although Dempsey couldn’t verify precisely how many Maywoodians are counted among that number, she noted that it’s a “good percentage.” And according to co-owner Ray Nelson (who, along with his wife, is a former McDonald’s employee), the franchise may begin “additional hiring within the next couple of weeks.”

“Just like [they’re] catering to our community,” said Dempsey, referring to the Nelsons,”the people in the community need to cater to the store.” VFP

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