A “community hero” is packing up his business after more than a decade serving the Mitcham community.
Mike Smith, manager of McDonald’s, will be closing his fast food Mitcham franchise next month after 12 years building it up into the hub of the community.
The site at 1 Majestic Way in Mitcham is owned by Mclagan Investments, part of Asda.
McDonalds has decided not to renew their lease on the land when it runs out next month.
Mr Smith is the chairman of Mitcham’s safer neighbourhood group, a director of the Merton Chamber of Commerce and has contributed to countless charity and community events.
He said: “My work has always been about supporting the community in Mitcham.
“McDonald’s is an iconic place. It always has been and always will be. I feel proud to have supported the community for the past 12 years in many ways.”
Andre Hackett, whose youth work project was saved from financial collapse by Mr Smith in 2008, said: “He’s actually the real deal in terms of being a community hero.
“He's always there for everyone when he can.
“He’s got so many demands on his time but he still manages to make time for people.
“That McDonald’s feels like the centre of Mitcham. Everything happens around there.
“When we have events we are always in there and he lets us use his chairs and the upstairs to set up. When stuff is not going on it’s still the hub of what’s going on.
“Everyone uses it and it’s going to leave a big hole in people’s hearts not having that place there and not having Mike Smith there.”
On what may replace his restaurant, Mr Smith said: “I’d like to think who ever comes in will try to continue the work I have done in the town centre.
“There’s always somewhere for people to come and sit and talk and McDonald’s has been very much part of that.
“I like to think I have driven that from an ideological standpoint and McDonald’s has supported me massively in doing that.
“I will continue my community work and even though the store is closing, hopefully one day I can return to Mitcham town centre.”
All 44 staff employed by the Mitcham franchise have been offered alternative positions at other branches.
Mr Smith said: “Anyone who wanted to continue their legacy with McDonald’s is being allowed to do so, I’m personally proud of that.”
Asda, which is opening a superstore in nearby Western Road on September 3, as yet do not have any plans for the site.
McDonald’s in Mitcham will close on Saturday, September 8.