B y Dan King

Over the last few years Whitehall has lost quite a few businesses and McDonald’s will be joining that list – but only temporarily.

Lloyd Schneider, owner and operator of the McDonald’s on Route 4, told the Times last Thursday that his restaurant will close on Aug. 22, just two days shy of the store’s 20th anniversary in Whitehall.

“It’s been a pleasure serving Whitehall, but it’s time for me to retire,” Schneider said. “I really want to thank the community for all of their support. It’s been a terrific community to serve. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I decided it was time for me to retire.”

Schneider operated the Fair Haven, Vt., McDonald’s as a franchisee beginning in 1988, before eventually deciding to open the McDonald’s in Whitehall on Aug. 24, 1995. Since that time Schneider has been the owner and operator of the Route 4 location.

Rumors had surfaced on social media that McDonald’s corporate offices would step in and keep the business open, but Schneider said that he was unaware of corporate’s intentions.

“I would say at this time it’s going to be closed,” he said. “They might reopen it in the future. I’m not sure of corporate’s intentions.”

However, corporate confirmed later Thursday that the closure would be temporary.

“This restaurant is being closed temporarily,” said Charlene Durham, a spokesman for McDonald’s. “McDonald’s closes and opens new restaurants periodically based on business need.”

When asked if she knew how long the store would remain closed, Durham said she was not certain.

The village of Whitehall annexed the property in 1995, running water and sewer lines out to the edge of the property. Then on May 9 of that year, the Mt. Carmel Society transferred the seven acre parcel – which used to be the site of the annual fireworks – to the McDonald’s Corp.

Reports at the time indicated it sold for about $200,000. At that time Fra Putorti, president of the Carmel Society, said it didn’t intend to sell the land but thought having a McDonald’s would benefit the community.

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