The Hub of the North is currently without a McDonald’s restaurant after the Walmart location shut down Aug. 7 to make way for the retail store’s upcoming renovations.
“It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later,” said local McDonald’s owner Brett O’Meara. “Walmart is in the process of converting to a Supercentre and they’re bringing a lot of additional food offerings and groceries to their business, which is exciting for the community.”
However, O’Meara went on to say that residents won’t be deprived of McDonald’s for long, since construction on the new 90-seat, 5,769-square-foot facility will be completed by Sept. 14.
“Stay tuned for a lot of excitement at the new restaurant,” he said. “We’re bringing all of our new platforms, whether that’s dual lane drive-thru, self-serve kiosks, table delivery, mobile ordering, a brand new PlayPlace for the kids and family. I can’t wait for that.”
This whole process began back in mid-May, when the 20 year-old building at 217 Mystery Lake Road was demolished to make way for a larger, more modern facility in the same location.
In the interim, Thompson’s McDonald’s employees moved to their Walmart location across the street. Even though they had significantly less space to work with, O’Meara said his staff performed admirably during throughout this transition and made the entire process “seamless.”
Now, with both locations shut down and having to wait around a month before construction on the new restaurant is completed, O’Meara said his employees are being financially compensated for their time off and will be undergoing training to prepare them for the grand reopening in mid-September.
Additionally, O’Meara said he is still looking to hire 10−15 full-time and 25−30 part-time employees to fill out the ranks of this larger facility.
O’Meara said construction progress on the new building has been steady throughout the summer, despite the fact that the contractors have had to contend with unusually rainy weather.
And while some business owners are understandably weary about Thompson’s economic prospects moving forward, especially since Vale just permanently closed their smelter and refinery and laid off another 127 workers July 31, O’Meara remains optimistic.
“We would not be making this level of investment if we didn’t believe in the future of Thompson and I don’t see an economic downturn,” he said. “I see a very vibrant community with reinvestment happening all around us. Of course, we’re going through a period of struggle, with some of the changes at the mine, but I think we’re going to come through those, and the Walmart Supercentre conversion, the building of our restaurant and other investments that are happening only proves that.”