A Connecticut Corporate Giant Got Its Start in Waterbury 57 Years Ago
The first McDonald's that I ever remember going to as a kid was the McDonald's that is still located in Waterbury at 45 Thomaston Avenue. In the early 1970's, I can't even count the numerous times that my parents and grandparents took my brother and I down West Main Street to enjoy those delicious fries and cheeseburgers.
This particular McDonald's in Waterbury is a special one, not only to me, but also to the Trefz family, that now owns most of the McDonald's restaurants here in Western CT and the Tri-State area.
The McDonald's at 45 Thomaston Avenue in Waterbury was the first opened up, 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 New York State. According to trefzmcdonalds.com, Trefz currently operates 33 McDonald's Restaurants in Connecticut, with another 16 in New York. 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 locations worldwide achieve.
McDonald's has invested billions of dollars feeding the billions and billions of us that go to their restaurants. But, it seemed like the original Trefz McDonald's at 45 Thomaston Ave in Waterbury was immune to modernization, until last Fall. Around this time last year, construction fences went up around the building, and the modernization of the building that I have been in countless times over the course of my life, and mostly looked the same, began to be renovated.
The first thing that I noticed during this past Spring that was different was the drive-thru, they got rid of the single lane and divided it up to the modern two lane-side by side ordering stations. The interior and exterior renovations have taken the better part of the past year.
Finally, the newly remodeled McDonald's on Thomaston Ave has just celebrated their grand re-opening. Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary posted a photo of himself attending the ceremonial ribbon cutting in front of the newly renovated space, and offered congratulations on behalf of Waterbury to the Trefz family for doing business in the same location in Waterbury for 57 years.
I had no idea that the Waterbury McDonald's that I had been going to my whole life was the launching pad for the Trefz family. Congratulations!