Happy Father’s Day, Dad…I miss you Happy Father’s Day to All Dads!

The bronze statute of my father stands in the lobby of our headquarters in Warren.

Even when the sun isn’t shining, my father, Albert Covelli, continues to cast a long shadow.

He left me an incredible legacy and I am honored to be continuing the company that he launched with little more than a belief that if you worked hard, treated employees and customers right and provided quality that you would find success.

He was so right.

My dad found his first success by selling produce. He met Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s, and actually sold him products for his restaurants. My dad believed in what Mr. Kroc was doing and moved to Warren to open a McDonald’s Restaurant in 1954.

But he didn’t stop at one.

It didn’t take long before my dad had grown our company into the largest franchisee of McDonald’s restaurants.

But in the late 1990s, my dad realized that it was time for a change and that’s when we sold out of McDonald’s Restaurants and bought into Panera Bread restaurants.

It’s almost Father’s Day. And it will be the first one for me without my dad.

He died May 5, 2014.

I am so lucky that I was able to work with my dad for my entire professional life. But I’d be less than honest if I didn’t confess that I miss him terribly.

But he’s with me a lot of the day. He’s there when I walk into stores and greet each and every one of our associates and our customers. He had a special way of talking to customers and associates. It came from his genuine gratitude and humility.

As we approach Father’s Day, I just wanted to take a few minutes to remind all of the sons and daughters out there to really appreciate and applaud and just love your fathers.

Life is never long enough.

8 replies
  1. Patrick
    Patrick says:

    I remember your father as someone that understood the restaurant business better than any McDonald’s Operator in the Country. He proved that when he got out of McDonald’s and into Panera.

    I worked for the man that invented the Big Mac; and your dad taught me more than he ever did. Although Big Jim taught me a lot.

    Continued good luck in your business.

  2. David Anstadt, MD
    David Anstadt, MD says:

    Thanks for telling us your story! You represent the very best of America!

    Family, service to country in its time of need, hard work, vision and love of all people are what it is all about!

    The choice to switch to Panera was brilliant. What we eat determines to large extent how healthy we are. Avoiding preservatives, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, bleached flower and other chemical additives is what we need more of!

  3. Tobin j Spade
    Tobin j Spade says:

    To The Covelli Family, Thank You! for sharing and letting me be apart of this “Great Organization”! Looking at (21 plus) wonderful years with this Enterprise as a employee. I have been so proud to know and work with Mr. Albert Covelli ! He has taught and encouraged me in so Meany ways. I will always be indented to him! Mr. Covelli was not only my employer, He was a close friend! He will be missed!

  4. Cary Dice
    Cary Dice says:

    Sam, I was the regional ad agency rep for your father’s McDonalds’ back when you were just finishing college. I recall you and I hit Blossom for a concert once. Your father could be a tough businessman but was always fair. He would get the company excited when we did the annual ten cent cherry pie promotion every Washington’s birthday. And he was always very supportive of all the activities involved in the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon every year. I recall flying with Ronald McDonald in a helicopter Al hired to a store appearance and setting down at your Presque Isle McDonald’s location with few feet to spare between the rotors and the power lines. But the kids had been promised an appearance and show so we got there on time. Glad to see you and the company have done so well. Oh, BTW, they wrote “Miami University”. Being an MU Redhawk, I believe they meant University of Miami in your bio. =)


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