AFTER almost 17 years owning and operating Emerald's first and only McDonald's Restaurant, Jeff and Leanne Watkins have handed over the reins to Blackwater McDonald's owners Gramae Pagel and Edward Salzwedel.
Jeff and Leanne opened the restaurant in Emerald on September 18, 1995.
The Watkins were certain they would miss the establishment.
"We've got some great memories here," Jeff said.
"There's been tough times and great times - that's the way things are in business.
"We'd just like to thank the staff and the people of Emerald who have supported us.
"We've done a few years and we aren't getting any younger, and we just felt we probably needed to slow down a bit.
"We wish Gramae and Edward all the best and I'm sure everything will go well."
Jeff and Leanne said they couldn't wait to spend a Saturday night together without the phone ringing.
Opening the Blackwater McDonald's in February this year, Gramae and Edward were excited to begin their journey as multi-restaurant owners.
"We've had some success in Blackwater, so we are hoping to carry on some of the community-based things we've done there through to Emerald, particularly working with the high schools," Edward said. "We'd like to thank the local community for their undivided support - it's been fantastic.
"We've had nothing but well-wishes and support from everybody so we look forward to a long relationship and involvement in the community."
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