COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — A highly successful Columbus businessman who has sold tens of millions of hamburgers in the Chattahoochee Valley, has now sold his restaurants.
Jack Pezold confirmed to WRBL in an exclusive interview on Thursday that his restaurants have been sold to a California businessman.
Pezold came to Columbus 42 years ago and built a business empire that started with six McDonald’s restaurants. The original six Pezold McDonald’s were on Victory Drive, Macon Road, Airport Thruway, LaGrange, and the U.S. 280 in Phenix City.
“I am 79 years old. And my wife has been after me for about 10 years that I need to kind of ease up a little bit,” Pezold said. “And, so the opportunity came up for us to sell the stores and we got an offer we couldn’t refuse.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Jim Abbate of Merced, Calif. has purchased 20 McDonald’s restaurants from Pezold. Those restaurants stretch from Hogansville, Ga., to Columbus and Phenix City. Abbate and his family have owned and operated McDonald’s restaurants in central California. Any sale had to be approved by McDonald’s. Pezold said negotiations had been going on for several months.
The ownership transfer will take place on Nov. 1. There are 1,200 McDonald’s employees. Pezold said the new owner is expected to retain the workers.
The deal does not impact Pezold’s other holdings, including Valley Hospitality and Denim North America. Nearly 750 employees will remain with the Pezold Companies.
Asked if he had been told 42 years ago he would be as successful as he has been, Pezold was quick to respond.
“I probably would have said you are smoking something,” he said. “No, I had no conception that they were going to do well. At that time, the Columbus market was at the bottom of the Atlanta region in sales and transactions. If you are way down, the only way to go is up.”
Pezold estimates he’s sold about 10 million Big Macs alone.
“That’s a lot of hamburgers.”
The original six Pezold McDonald’s were on Victory Drive, Macon Road, Airport Thruway, LaGrange, and the U.S. 280 in Phenix City.
Pezold said he wanted to thank everyone who has supported his restaurants over the years.
“You know, we have been incredibly blessed that we have been as successful as we have,” Pezold said. “We have an awful lot of competition, a lot more than when we arrived here. But we are very pleased.”