After thirty-one years, three months, and fifteen days to be exact, Jerry and Gayle Margraf have retired as owners/operators of the Linton McDonald’s.
“Jerry is 71, and I’ll be 70. We know we can’t do this forever,” Gayle explained Thursday evening after the restaurant closed early for a celebration with employees. “We knew we had to do it. We had an opportunity that was too hard to pass up.”
An owner/operator approached them, she said, about taking over the business. The Linton property will give the new owner/operator nine locations and both Jerry and Gayle feel he is a good fit for their former business as well as the Linton community. She said he has asked for a list of local suppliers as well as local organizations the Margraf’s have used/supported over the years.
“He wants to do what’s right for the community,” Gayle said.
Many Lintonians and others throughout the Greene County community would say the Margraf’s have done what’s right for the community for more than thirty years by supporting local schools, organizations, events, and more.
“We couldn’t do what we do without the support of the community,” Gayle said. “It’s important for us to give back to the community.”
In addition to giving back to the community, they have also given back to the Ronald McDonald House through funds raised in their Big Mac Attack golf scramble. In the 25 years the golf scramble was held, Jerry said they raised and donated more than $150,000 to the Ronald McDonald House in Indianapolis.
The Ronald McDonald House is a cause that is near and dear to their hearts as they utilized the House in Detroit when their daughter was involved in a drowning accident. For 12 days, because of the House, they were able to be with her around the clock before she passed away.
“If we are able to provide that for another family, that’s extremely important to us,” Gayle said.
Through personal donations, Jerry said, they also sponsor a room which includes a plaque with their name on the door.
When news of the Margraf’s retirement hit the streets, many in the community expressed concerns that the high quality and great service they’ve learned to trust might suffer. The Margraf’s want their former customers to rest assured that team members will continue to provide the same high level of service.
“The managers and crew know what to do,” Gayle said, noting some staff have been there for more than twenty years. “It’s up to them to continue our legacy.”
So, what’s next for the Margraf’s?
“We’re not going to slow down,” Gayle said, noting they will be taking time to visit their kids and grandkids living out of state. “We are going to continue to sit on the committees we sit on the continue serving the community.”
Although they hailed from northern Ohio, they both now consider Linton home and plan to stay in Linton.
“It’s been so good to us. We can’t not continue to give back,” she said.
File photo, Linton McDonald’s