Donald Bailey Jr. who owns a McDonald’s in the Crenshaw Community poses with his dad, Donald Bailey Sr. who is also a franchise owner
Three second generation McDonald’s franchise owners are making an impact as community leaders
There is much to be said about the role African-American owned businesses play in local communities. These businesses provide job opportunities, help lead community improvement projects, and contribute to philanthropic efforts. Often overlooked, are the owners who keep them running.
Three second-generation McDonald’s franchise owners in Southern California are building on the legacy started by their parents as small business owners and becoming active participants in community organizations, educational boards, and advocating on behalf of issues faced in the African-American community.
Nicole Enearu is the owner of two McDonald’s restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area. She also runs the operations for 13 restaurants, most of which are owned by her mother Patricia Williams, who first became an owner/operator in 1984. Enearu spent many years in the social services industry before she began working with her mother in 2002. When she had accomplished what she wanted on her own, she began thinking of the benefits that come with being an entrepreneur.
Between Williams and Enearu, the family owns every restaurant in the Compton community. “Our employees live in the neighborhoods we service,” said Enearu. “We want to give back to them by servicing things that are going on in the community where they live.”
The family gets involved in the local community by sponsoring the city’s Christmas Toy Drive, building relationships with local government agencies and city officials, and hosting in-store fundraisers for local schools known as McTeacher’s Night.
When asked about the importance of black businesses in the community, Enearu said she most enjoys the opportunity to talk with others about being business owners and having an entrepreneurial spirit. “In a city like Compton, that is predominately minority, it is important for people to see they too can be business owners and role models in their own community, “ said Enearu
Donald Bailey, Jr., who owns a restaurant in the Crenshaw community, also feels the need to be a visible staple in the community to show a younger generation of African-Americans that they too can be entrepreneurs. Bailey began working in his parents’ restaurants at the age of 12, but never planned to become an owner. He was nudged into the family business by his father while in college and fell in love with the business along the way. He was approved to be a next-generation owner/operator in 2003 and owned his first restaurant in 2005.
“I struggled quite a bit in college, but had professors who gave me a second chance,” said Bailey. “I feel the need to do the same and give back to those in the community who need help.”
Bailey has found a way to merge his background and interest in law with his role as a McDonald’s owner. In addition to being the director of operations for nine family restaurants, he is also affiliated with the Los Angeles Police Department Cadets Program, Community Police Advisory Board, and youth training camp Sarges Community Youth Program.
With five restaurants in the Inland Empire, Kiana Webb-Severloh has also found a way to merge her passion with her role as a McDonald’s owner. “My passion stems from literacy and really encouraging communities to band together to grow and create villages,” said Severloh. “People who can understand reading and cognitive development have an opportunity to change themselves and the community in which they live.”
She follows on the heels of her father, Reggie Webb, who was one of the first African-American McDonald’s owners in Southern California. The family owns a total of 16 restaurants with just under 1,000 employees. Severloh oversees the operations for all. “I love working with the community, working with my employees,” said Severloh. “They remind me of what’s important in life.”
The Webb family has put together the beginning stages of a foundation that focuses on literacy. They are partnering with Pomona Unified School District on a pilot program that focuses on independent reading at home and in the classroom, and the impact it has on students’ test scores across all subjects. It is just one piece of a continuing partnership Severloh has established with the district.
“Back in the day, it was a village that raised families,” said Severloh. “Teaching that moving forward, giving back and having my family involved is the biggest blessing to my life.”
Carrying the torch started by their families, feeling a sense of responsibility, and giving back were common reasons given Enearu, Bailey and Severloh as to why they were inspired to follow in the footsteps of their parents. “There is nothing that I’ve done that felt like it had value or worth like I do when I’m at McDonald’s,” said Severloh. “Being a leader in my community, the ability to provide for my family and working with my employees…it’s never really a boring day.”
Nicole Enearu is the owner of two McDonald’s restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area. She also runs the operations for 13 restaurants, most of which are owned by her mother Patricia Williams