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Three McDonald's have new owner

March 06, 2003|by TAMELA BAKER

Three local McDonald's restaurants changed hands March 1, but the new owner is no stranger either to McDonald's or to Washington County.

Since 1969, McDonald's restaurants in Washington County have been operated by the Levine family - first by Murray and Mickey Levine, who purchased the Northern Avenue restaurant from the McDonald's company in 1970 and then added several more Washington County restaurants, and then by Mark Levine, who until Saturday owned seven restaurants through the Golden M Company of Hagerstown, and his sister Cindy, who owns three restaurants.

The Golden M Company relinquished ownership of the restaurants located on Maugans Avenue and Garland Groh Boulevard in Hagerstown and on Clear Spring Road in Clear Spring to Stan & Sandy Enterprises of Smithsburg, according to Mark Levine.

Stanley Neal, the "Stan" in Stan & Sandy, is a friend who started working for Mark Levine's parents in 1972, when he was just 15.

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Neal said Wednesday that Mark Levine "just wanted to downsize," so he took the opportunity to purchase the stores "mainly because I was born and raised here" in Hagerstown.

Neal said he worked for the Levines until 1990, when he and his late wife Sandy, who had worked for the Levines from 1974, purchased a McDonald's franchise in Altoona, Pa. After a year, they sold the Altoona restaurant and purchased a restaurant in Walkersville, Md.

Neal has since added six other Frederick County McDonald's restaurants to his holdings - in Taneytown, Thurmont, Emmitsburg, New Market and at Yellow Spring Road and the Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick.

For Neal, who resides in Hagerstown, purchasing franchises in Washington County seemed only natural.

"It didn't make sense not to buy stores in my hometown," he said.

Customers will see a few changes, he said. He plans to do some remodeling at the Clear Spring and Maugans Avenue restaurants.

The fast-food business continues to be a Neal family affair.

"I have two older sons that work for me, and two younger sons at home," he said.

"I've been with McDonald's for 31 years. McDonald's has been very good to us."

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