After 16 years as the owners of McDonald’s in Brady, Jim and Carolyn Stultz are turning in their aprons and leaving the Big Mac’s behind them. Effective May 1, new owners, Hampton and Lynette Conlans, will take over ownership of the business. Also the owners of the McDonald’s in Lampasas, the Conlanses bring with them both experience and a motivation to continue the tradition of hometown friendliness already deep-rooted in the Brady franchise, thanks to the Stultzes. ‘We feel confident we are leaving the restaurant in good hands,’ Mrs. Stultz said. ‘The Conlanses are young and energetic, and we believe they will take good care of our ‘baby.’ Recalling exactly what brought them to Brady in the first place, Mrs. Stultz said, ‘In January of 1991, we didn’t have any idea at all that we would soon be owners of a McDonald’s,’ said Mrs. Stultz. ‘Jim was working for a McDonald’s supervisor who put our names in (without us knowing) with the possibility of taking a store. They worked with us to make it something that we could do. We decided to give it a whirl and it has worked out really, really well for us.’ The Stultzes hadn’t planned to sell the store so soon. Their intent was to put the store on the market in 2009, two years before their lease was to expire in 2011. Figuring that the word of their pending retirement was somewhat ‘leaked’ (or passed around by word- of-mouth) by McDonald’s representatives, Mrs. Stultz added that it was the Conlanses who contacted them and expressed an interested in purchasing the Brady franchise. A couple of years earlier than expected, the Stultzes will soon be settling into retirement. It was April 1, 1991 when the Stultzes opened the doors of McDonald’s in Brady for the first time as the new owners. The original opening of the Brady restaurant took place in October 1989. It was built on the premise that the town would ‘boom’ as the home of the first pari-mutuel horse racing track in the State of Texas, recalled Mrs. Stultz. ‘Everyone in Brady is pretty familiar with what happened regarding horse racing. The store had been taken over by McDonald’s Corporation and was considered ‘iffy,’ at best.’ Despite those odds in the beginning, the Stultzes have transformed the Brady McDonald’s into what it is today, although they admit they can’t take all the credit for the business’s success. Over the years, the Stultzes have watched a lot of young people grow up before their eyes and behind the counter of the Brady McDonald’s. ‘Many of them have sought employment with us,’ Mrs. Stultz said. ‘For some, it did not work out’ not everyone has catsup in their veins’but there are many who worked at McDonald’s all through their years at high school who have gone on to lead very successful lives. We are very proud to have been able to help them along the way. ‘We have made so many friends, and we truly appreciate the support this town has given us. We could have left Brady and become wealthy folk by moving to an area where people had the opportunity to own a number of stores. That was what the McDonald’s people wanted us to do. ‘What we wanted, however, was a place to make a good living, put down roots, raise our grandson, grow a garden, watch the wildlife and be happy. We found all that in McDonald’s and the little corner of McCulloch County where you have a Brady address, a Lohn phone number and your kids are supposed to go to school in Rochelle.’ Eventually, Mrs. Stultz added, the ‘corporate folk’ realized that they were where they wanted to be’ limitations and all’and quit trying to force the issue. As for the couple’s future plans with retirement, they plan to stay right here in Brady’strengthening their roots along the way’and waiting like everyone else for the new Wal- Mart Supercenter!’ added Mrs. Stultz.