Business feature: Business owners believe community is key

Giving back to the community and helping employees better themselves are part of the formula John Snowberger says have turned his McDonald’s restaurants into successful operations.

Snowberger and his business partner and wife, Robyn, own and operate seven McDonald’s Restaurants in eastern New Mexico.

Snowberger moved from California to New Mexico for a job in the 1970s. He landed at Taco Box in Farmington, later working at Taco Box in Roswell and then in Clovis.

“I met the local McDonald’s owner in 1990 and he hired me to be his area supervisor,” Snowberger said. “I worked for him for a few years. Then, when he downsized, I bought the business from him.”

He married his wife in 2001 and from that moment on they have been working together as business partners.

Robyn Snowberger sits on the food bank board, school advisory board and both partners are involved in the chamber of commerce in each community where they own stores.

Snowberger said they are active in supporting Ronald McDonald Houses in Lubbock, Amarillo and Albuquerque.

Snowberger said Robyn organizes an annual golf tournament at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, raising $20,000 to $30,000 each year for the houses.

Snowberger said the most important part of being with McDonald’s is the careers they have helped employees build.

“For instance, Cedric Cota of Portales,” Snowberger said. “He started off as my assistant manager in 1990 and now he is my director of operations for all our companies. All seven of them and soon to be eight.”

Snowberger said the goal is to make Cedric an owner and operator someday. They also give two hours a week of paid study time to employees in school.

“They come and clock in,” Snowberger said. “They sit at a table in the lobby, we give them a free drink and we pay them to study up to two hours a week. They are not allowed to have visitors or use their cell phones, but we allow any employee to clock in and study.”

Snowberger said his stores also sponsor Teacher’s Night — a chance for teachers to work in a restaurant and 30 percent of total sales are donated to schools.

The Snowbergers operate McDonald’s in Clovis, Portales, Roswell and Tucumcari.