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T.C. Metzner, owner of Cairo’s McDonald’s for 42 years, has retired and sold the store to an operator out of Tallahassee. The new owner is Raphael Vazquez who already owned 18 McDonald’s franchises with his father in Florida.
“I’m excited. I love the community there. I’ve driven around, and researched the history of Cairo, it’s such a great area,” says Vazquez.
Metzner retired Dec. 28, 2020, 46 years after opening his first McDonald’s restaurant in Bainbridge. Two years later, he opened one in Thomasville in 1976, then he opened the McDonald’s in Cairo in 1978 and one in Camilla in 1995.
Metzner is a 1974 graduate of Hamburger University and the Archie Award winner from his class, according to spokesperson Nancy Cook. She also says Metzner was instrumental in the establishment of the local Ronald McDonald House located in Tallahassee.
In 1981, Metzner presented the concept of a rolling billboard that is now seen on every McDonald’s supply delivery truck, Cook says. Many other companies followed suit, she says.
In 1987, Metzner recycled through Hamburger University and graduated as the Gold Hat Award Winner from his class.
He started the A=Cheeseburger program more than 30 years ago and supplied over 12,000 report card covers to elementary and middle schools in Grady, Thomas, Decatur, Mitchell and Baker counties.
Vazquez says customers of the Cairo McDonald’s will see the restaurant’s continued support of local schools through the A=Cheeseburger program. He says another unchanged aspect of the local restaurant is manager Trina Dixon who will remain in place.
The restaurant, however, is expected to get a renovation next year, he says. Vazquez purchased all of Metzner’s McDonald’s franchises in Georgia, and he says the first restaurant to get a renovation will be Camilla in a few months, followed by Bainbridge later this year, then Cairo in 2022.
“We want to make the facilities a little more modern,” Vazquez says.
Although the local restaurant is currently open for drive-thru service only, 6 a.m. to midnight seven days a week, Vazquez says he is looking to hire more employees for the Cairo location, and hopes to open for take out service soon and later for socially distanced seating.
The 18 McDonald’s Vazquez already owned in Florida include 13 in Leon County, one in Quincy, one in Crawfordville, one in Monticello, one in Perry and one in White Springs.