A CT corporate giant started in Waterbury 57 years ago

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The first McDonald’s I remember going to as a kid was McDonald’s which is still located in Waterbury at 45 Thomaston Avenue. In the early 1970s, I can’t even count the many times my parents and grandparents took my brother and I to West Main Street for these delicious fries and cheeseburgers.

This McDonald’s in Waterbury is special not only to me but also to the Trefz family, who now own most of the McDonald’s restaurants here in western CT and the tri-state area.

The McDonald’s located at 45 Thomaston Avenue in Waterbury was first opened, on September 27, 1964, by Bridgeport’s Trefz Corporation. Their name is instantly recognizable if you’ve ever worked at a McDonald’s in western Connecticut or upstate New York. According to trefzmcdonalds.com, Trefz currently operates 33 McDonald’s restaurants in Connecticut, and 16 more in New York City. That’s a lot of Quarter Pounders.

The Trefz brothers, Ernie and Chris, are recipients of the prestigious McDonald’s Golden Arch Award, which only 1% of McDonald’s establishments worldwide receive.

McDonald’s has invested billions of dollars to feed the billions and billions of us who frequent their restaurants. But, it looked like the original Trefz McDonald’s at 45 Thomaston Ave in Waterbury was immune to modernization, until last fall. Around the same time last year, construction fences were put up around the building and the modernization of the building that I have been in countless times in my life, and which for the most part looked the same , began to be renovated.

The first thing I noticed last spring that was different was the drive-thru, they got rid of the single lane and split it into modern two-lane side-by-side control stations. Interior and exterior renovations have taken up most of the past year.

Finally, the recently renovated McDonald’s on Thomaston Ave has just celebrated its grand reopening. The Mayor of Waterbury, Neil O’Leary, posted a photo of himself attending the dedication ceremony outside the newly refurbished space and on behalf of Waterbury congratulated the Trefz family for doing business at the same location in Waterbury for 57 years.

I had no idea the Waterbury McDonald’s that I had been to all my life was the launch pad for the Trefz family. Congratulations!

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