Local regulars flooded the newly rebuilt McDonald’s on Main Street on Wednesday morning, packing the tables and vying for a spot in the new drive-through.
For Dot and Bill Gapp, George Compton, Ed Novotny, Don McNeel, and many others it was reunion of sorts.
“We’ve been anxious for months waiting for them to open,” Dot Gapp said. Bill Gapp, who recently turned 80, visits every morning before going to work at Wal-mart. Compton visits twice a day regularly. Without a gathering place, the group has been scattered across other fast food stops since February.
McNeel and Compton were going to Arby’s, although they never saw each other. But they did enjoy the staff.
“They’re a nice gang,” Compton confessed.
The Gapps were going to Burger King.
“I haven’t seen Dot for months,” Compton said.
Compton was one of the first 100 people in line, and he received a $25 gift card. He returned mid-morning to see his friends and had tried to use it. But was a bit chagrined it hadn’t been activated.
“I gave them holy hell for it,” he said jokingly.
The group had a mixed reaction to new store.
“It’s different,” said Novotny, who added that with enough time he’d find something he didn’t like.
The new store features muted colors and a stylized picture of Mesa Verde on the wall. The play area was redesigned, and computers with games for children were installed.
Bill Gapp appreciated that the front counter had been reorganized to be more efficient.
Outside, the double drive-through allows for two cars to order at the same time, and the store now includes two pick-up windows. The previous drive-through had an extremely tight turn.
The kitchen space was also reorganized. Employee Dawn Armendarez said the new floor plan includes more room in the back, and there is no longer a basement with a freezer.
“I hated the basement,” she said.
Since February, she had been commuting to work in Durango. She said she was happy to able to walk to work again and be there for her regulars.
“Four months without McDonald’s probably killed them,” she said.
Franchise owners are required to rebuild their locations every 40 years. Brett Bronson, the local owner, decided to rebuild the Cortez location about six years early.