Compton Community Celebrates Grand Opening on 1733 Alameda Street
At a ribbon cutting ceremony in Compton, city members and local residents honored entrepreneur Patricia Williams in her opening of a 12th McDonald’s restaurant on Friday, July 18.
McDonald’s is the largest and most successful franchise around the world. There is no way you could travel to Africa, Japan and other foreign countries, and not be able to spot a McDonald’s restaurant even in the heart of some underdeveloped countries.
After Williams quit her job as an area supervisor for the State of California and her husband quit his job as a police officer, they opened their first restaurant located on Washington Blvd. and La Cienega Ave.
“Right after the Los Angeles riots in 1965, corporate America realized that they needed people that look like the people occupying various communities, to own franchises,” Williams said. “There was a young man named Reggie Webb, a regional administrator who insisted that my husband and I own a franchise.”
Williams said two years after their first restaurant, they opened another located on La Brea Ave. and Rodeo Blvd. After her divorce, she began opening more restaurants within the community like the one located on Manchester and Normandie Ave., which is near the area where the Rodney King Riot started. Amazingly during this infamous riot, not one African American restaurant was vandalized.
“The newscasters were suggesting that gang members destroy everything in the neighborhood, and they did,” Williams said. “All the supermarkets, drugstores and shoe stores were destroyed. They didn’t do anything to my restaurant because it belonged to a sister,” she continued.
She believes that because she was actively involved in the community, her restaurant survived the riots.
Williams said her franchises have created outstanding career opportunities for young adults who worked for her as well.
“A couple of them are now Los Angeles police officers, one is a city planner, so we saw good things happen to these young adults as a result of helping them get jobs,” said Williams.
Since our society is searching for young adults to become the next leaders in America, Williams established an organization where young adults could implement their ideas about McDonald’s for years to come.
“We established a organization called The Next Generation, where we recruit young people from the Historically Black Universities to get fresh ideas,” said Williams. “People think McDonald’s only offers entry level positions, but they have no idea that they need attorneys to write our contracts, personnel for developing commercials, and hiring actors, developing menu items. We also have many nutritionists on staff. So there are more than entry level positions.”
The speakers who honored Ms. Williams for her accomplishments were mayor of Compton, Eric Perrodin; Del Huff; Councilwoman Lilly Dotson, Councilwoman Barbara Calhoun; Lestean Johnson; Steve Norby, general manager for the Southern California Region; Karen Garcia; Steve Akinboroe; and Elise Kim.
“Ms. Williams is a trailblazer and her daughter also owns a restaurant at LAX. It shows how much a Black woman can accomplish in today’s world, and she’s passing that legacy to her daughter,” said Perrodin.
Williams has demonstrated wonderful leadership skills and has contributed a lot to economic development in Compton,” said Calhoun. Williams has been consistent in terms of serving the community and helping out young adults with job opportunities, she added.
“Please don’t hesitate to stop at the McDonald’s located on Alameda St. for a Big and Tasty, Big Mac, super-size fries and a cool cup of Pibb Root Beer soda,” said Steve Norby, southern California vice president.