Tag Archives: McDonald’s

Summer vacation…part two…observations from the road

Our 30th anniversary celebration trip to Tybee Island, GA, didn’t take place as planned during the summer of 2010. Instead, we spent that week gearing up for a two-week stay in OSU Medical Center.

So…this summer’s vacation on Tybee was more that just an anniversary trip — it was a celebration of life. Last summer, when our Tybee landlords — Malinda and Fred UruvantĀ  — learned why we were unable to meet our reservation, they graciously offered to hold our deposit until we were able to travel. The Heron’s Nest would be available when we were ready. By late 2010, we’d reserved our dates.

Having had enough with air travel — too much arriving early and waiting for delayed flights– we decided it was time to test the road in the new Prius. We loaded up with clothing, snacks, and lots of maps. Nothing else — in addition to a comfy interior complete with bedroom, living area, bath, kitchen, laundry facilities, hot tub, screened-in porch and fenced-in patio, the Heron’s Nest offers everything we need — beach towels, mats, umbrellas, coaster bikes.

Entrance to Heron's Nest patio

We left Bluffton with one aging and loaded Dodge Caravan, one four-month-old Prius, and one dog. We ditched the van and the dog at Daughter No. 2’s place in Cincinnati. Leaving Ike was hard — kind of like leaving your young children with a relative even though you know they’ll have oodles of fun. Which he did. Ike had play dates almost every day with Mogli, the pug that belongs to Anne’s landlord.

From Cincy, we hit southbound I-75 and hightailed it for Georgia.

Here are some observations from a road trip:

  • Most states have welcome centers where you can pick up maps and other travel information (i.e., hotels, etc. for overnight stops unless you enjoy sleeping in your car). By the way, most of those centers allow you to park only two hours at a time. We wondered if you could park, sleep for two hours, and then move to the next parking spot and sleep for two more hours. We didn’t test that.
  • Books on CD make long drives go much faster IF you can agree on what to listen to. Fortunately, we both love mysteries. In our car, if the passenger falls asleep mid-book, the rule is that the driver has to brief the passenger on what he/she has missed.
  • States need to standardize their rest area parking rules. Usually, a sign directs trucks and cars with trailers to one area, and cars to another area. But they’re NEVER consistent and I can’t read the small print fast enough so inevitably I end up with the trucks.
  • My husband cannot ever find the entrance to any off-highway stop, nor can he see the signs. Here’s how the conversation goes: Me: I want to stop at that Dairy Queen. Fred: What Dairy Queen? Where is it? Me: Right here in front of us….see the big DQ sign…here…turn here…FRED! TURN RIGHT NOW!
  • Sigh. I’m not making this up. Ask him.
  • Driving through Savannah is mesmerizing. All that spanish moss hanging from those huge trees that line I-81/26 is beautiful. Just don’t touch it — chiggers live in it.
  • If you’re craving a Market Fresh turkey sandwich from Arby’s, it is guaranteed there will not be an Arby’s ANYWHERE in the vicinity. McDonald’s, Subway, Chicken and Biscuits, Chicken and Waffles, Wendy’s and every other fast food joint. No Arby’s. I know this to be true because we drove clear through North Carolina and saw nary an Arby’s. I finally gave in on Subway. Two miles later, we crossed into Virginia and there it is…natch….Arby’s.
  • Driving a hybrid is dangerous. You become so accustomed to getting 50 mpg that you forget about filling the gas tank. It’s a good thing that we were going downhill into Arnold’s Valley, VA, when it suddenly occurred to us that the tank was ominously low….well beyond the signal that it’s time for a refill. We coasted into the gas station with 1/4 gallon. Literally.
  • Driving the back roads of Virginia in the broad daylight is one thing. In the dark, it’s a completely different story. Nothing looks the same. Actually, you can’t see anything so forget trying to watch for the general store or the vet clinic that signal the next turn. Lucky for us, two guys in a pickup pulled up and asked if we were lost. Amazingly, they were headed toward Arnold’s Valley Road, led us in the right direction and voila…there was the Pannabecker farm…




Wiping down tables, flipping burgers a means for giving back to his community

If Carlin Carpenter was the first person you met in Bluffton, you’d do one of two things. Hightail it for the hinterlands or decide to stay put. After a hearty welcome from Carpenter, Jerry and Lori Lewis decided that if his friendliness was any indication of the general population, then Bluffton was a good place to settle and open their first McDonald’s Restaurant. In fact, they never did get around to visiting the two other towns that were options for them to open their first store. That single restaurant has grown to 17 within the Lewis franchise system, but the Lewises continue to reside in Bluffton.

Scott Shaw, who has worked for Jerry since he first opened the Bluffton store, is now director of operations, and lives around the corner from Jerry and his family. Recently, Jerry gifted Scott with “key employee ownership”, which shows how much faith he has in his good friend.

Today Lewis’ restaurants employ a total of 900, with 60 of those at the Bluffton store. According to Lewis, who spoke at the Sept. 10 Bluffton Chamber of Commerce breakfast, the company is an active supporter of local activities including soccer, Child Development Center, Ricky Matter Strength and Conditioning Center, Bluffton University President’s Club, McDonald’s Basketball Tournament, library summer reading program, library expansion, MAC Grants to teachers, and scoreboards at Bluffton University. In Lima, Lewis’ restaurants sponsor a Thanksgiving Day dinner at the Civic Center, and are involved in Clean Up Inner City Lima — donating $60,000 of paint and mulch, and other supplies.

The truth is, it’s hard to make a turn in Bluffton without seeing some evidence of Lewis’ McDonald’s — whether on a billboard, a sign, a tee-shirt on a tiny soccer player.

Jerry Lewis talks with Oscar Velasquez and Ropp Triplett

Lewis, who served in the Navy for four years after high school, spent another year backpacking through Europe before returning home to southeastern Ohio. He quickly became immersed in the McDonald’s business and has never lost his passion for it.

In fact, Lewis can spout McDonald statistics like a devout OSU football fan. Stats like these just roll off his tongue: 637 restaurants in Ohio, 37,110 employees, 8.4 percent are in management, and the average length of employment is 9.2 years. Lewis is all-too-familiar with the negatives that go along with “flipping burgers”.

“Don’t study hard, you’re going to flip burgers for the rest of your life,” said Lewis, adding with a grin, “That’s what I do.”

But flipping burgers has provided Lewis with the means to give back to a community that has supported him wholeheartedly. That passion for “giving back” resulted in his being awarded the treasured “Golden Arch Award” in 2010, an award given to less than one percent of all McDonald’s owners.

Lewis’ enthusiasm for the business has begun to impact his own children. Jessica, a schoolteacher with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and a principal’s certificate, has taken a year of absence to spend some time working for the family business. His son, Jonathan, a finance major at Miami University, intends to join the business after graduation. But Lewis is clear; this is not a matter of nepotism in the workplace. His kids begin just like every other employee — wiping down tables.

It is, after all, how Lewis started his own McDonald’s career. From wiping tables to flipping burgers to giving back. It’s all about having a passion for doing what you love.