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Store Renovates, Helps Area School

Just before Kanoelani Elementary School in Waipio let out for summer vacation late last month, it was treated to a surprise during an end-of-the-year assembly.

McDonald’s of Waipio presented the school with $4,427, most of which was raised during the restaurant’s grand reopening week in early May. Prior to the reopening, which marked the completion of its renovations, the fast-food outlet donated $1 from select menu items to the school.

McDonald’s of Waipio

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McDonald’s of Waipio celebrated its grand reopening last month. The event was attended by (from left) Barbara Ichinose, McDonald’s of Hawaii president Veronica Kaneko, Angela Ballard, Miles Ichinose, state Sens. Clarence Nishihara and Michelle Kidani, and state Rep. Ryan Yamane. Photos courtesy of McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii.

“(The students) were very happy,” said Miles Ichinose, owner/operator of the Waipio McDonald’s, along with his daughter, Angela Ballard. “As it turned out, (the community) responded, and we were really lucky we could do that.”

Ichinose and Ballard explained that Kanoelani has been striving to expand its technology and will purchase a smart board with the money. If there are extra funds, it also will be looking into new computers.

“Not only (were) we re-inviting people to our new store, but also we (were) helping raise money for our community,” said Ballard. The renovation included two additional seats inside the restaurant, 40 seats outside and a two-lane drive-thru. The restaurant also has a new, contemporary look and a fresh paint job.

“We have gotten a good reaction from (customers). One of the biggest elements is that we have more capacity,” Ichinose said, explaining that the two-lane drive-thru also has lessened area traffic.

The Waipio outlet has been in flux since 2008, when they remodeled the interior. “Since 2008, we of course have had tremendous growth in our volume because of our community growing, and because of the activities at the field across the street … We knew that we had to do something,” Ballard said.

McDonald’s of Waipio has a tradition of helping Kanoelani Elementary – which the owner/operators frequently refer to as “our school” – and hosts two fundraisers for it each year.

The Waipio eatery also is involved with a number of other community service projects, and works with groups like the Boys and Girls Club in Ewa Beach and Weed and Seed, as well as raising funds for other schools. The owners also are gearing up to renovate their Ewa Beach restaurant next month, when they plan to raise money for another area school or group.