HUNTINGTON -- Tom Wolf owns 14 McDonald's restaurants in West Virginia and Kentucky, but today's opening of his newest restaurant on the corner of 1st Street and 5th Avenue has provided a lot of firsts for the seasoned businessman.

The restaurant will be the first McDonald's in the nation to have Level 2 Electric Car Charging Stations, which accommodate charging needs of new electric vehicles, said Emily Myers, a public relations representative for McDonald's.

The station is just one of many changes for the ever-evolving restaurant, Wolf said.

"McDonald's restaurants are always evolving, and this is just the latest change," Wolf said. "I think this is the direction we should be going in."

The restaurant on 1st Street will replace the McDonald's on Washington Avenue, which was the first McDonald's restaurant in West Virginia, Wolf said.

He said he has always supported the progression of McDonald's from owning the first restaurant in the state to the latest development with the charging stations.

Myers and Wolf said the idea for the charging stations were part of Wolf's plan to make the restaurant more user-friendly.

"There are a lot of different things about the restaurant from the stations to extra outlets and even the new, cleaner, comfortable decor," Myers said. "All of that together makes it more likely people will get out of their cars to come in and have a casual dining experience."

The stations are Level 2 stations, which means they are capable of completely charging an electric car within four hours, and a half-hour charge is the equivalent of a gallon of gas or 20 to 30 miles per vehicle, Wolf said. Wolf said he wanted to take advantage of the natural resources West Virginia has to offer including coal and natural gas. He said this was one way to make sure he is putting money back into the state.

Wolf said he knew electric cars weren't the norm. However, he said he is preparing for what he said is the future of communities across the nation.

"I hope the community sees this as a progressive effort, a part of the solution, because that's what I see it as," Wolf said. "I hope we can all look at this with a progressive attitude toward the community and toward the customer, and we'll see what the future holds."

The new McDonald's will open at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 16.


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