By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
Tessa Smith said her four children had been asking for months about going to McDonald’s during their daily drive past the construction site.
Tuesday’s opening of the newly constructed restaurant put an end to the inquiries and begging from her children.
“We homeschool so we figure now is the perfect time to come,” Smith said Tuesday afternoon as she watched her children play on the indoor play structure. “(The play structure) is neat. It kind of structures their imagination.”
Owner John Snowberger said after 110 days of being closed, it was good to see life again in his the first restaurant he owned in Portales.
Snowberger said he decided to tear down the old building and create one that fit this generation’s needs.
“It was time to modernize and we want to connect with all of our customer bases, especially the millennials (people aged 18-30),” Snowberger said.
The building was also given a futuristic look, with pops of color in the seats and in the play area that are a stretch from McDonald’s traditional color palette of red and yellow.
Snowberger declined to say what the cost to construct the 4,800 square-foot building was but said the building seats 104 people.
One of the most significant changes to the restaurant’s service was making the dining area and the drive-through open 24 hours, which helped with job creation in the community.
“With the inclusion of previous employees, we’re now at 118,” Snowberger said.
The 24-hour service caters to students, police, and other people who need a place to eat or study at all hours of the night, according to Snowberger.
“They want somewhere to be and to feel secure,” he said.
The change in hours certainly appealed to Eastern New Mexico University freshmen Delta Navarrete and Dominique Gomez of Floyd as they entered the world of midterms and finals.
“I think that improved everyone’s lives just a little bit,” Navarrete said.
The girls said they came to visit McDonald’s between classes.
“I just really wanted to see what was new,” Navarrete said.
“And we missed McDonald’s already,” Gomez added.
Snowberger said the restaurant will have free Wi-Fi and multiple electrical outlets for those working on electronic devices.
He added there will also be a chance of the restaurant staying open through the Christmas holiday for those who need a place to eat and for employees who prefer to work.
“My goal is just to provide great career opportunities for lots of people an continue to serve Portales that has blessed us since 1994,” he said.