Listen to this article

CHAMPAIGN — The longtime owners of most of the Champaign-Urbana McDonald's locations have sold their eight restaurants to family members of U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville.

Davis' brother Brad and father, Marty, who own the McDonald's locations in Taylorville, Pana, Shelbyville and Vandalia, completed the sale Wednesday, according to now-former-co-owner Scott Miller.

Scott, sister Heather, mother Alice and father Dwight ran all the C-U McDonald's except the one on Philo Road in Urbana.

Scott Miller said his family simply decided it was time to move on.

"We've been in this business a long time," he said. "My parents are close to retirement age. I wanted to explore what else is out there and do other things, so we made the decision to put the stores on the market."

His father has been a franchisee since 1997, and Scott Miller became an owner-operator in 2011.

"We were lucky enough to find a great current franchisee named Brad Davis, who made an offer, which we accepted," Miller said. "They took over as of today, and my family and I are officially retired from the McDonald's business."

Brad Davis did not return a request for comment, but Miller said his relationship to the congressman wasn't a factor in the sale.

"I've known the Davis family for well over 10 years and think they're an amazing family," he said. "They've been great franchisees."

And he said the recent approval of an increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 in Illinois also wasn't a factor.

"We made this decision two years ago. Will the minimum-wage increase make things more challenging? Yes," Miller said. "But that was not the reason we got out. That was just a couple weeks ago, and we made the decision back in almost 2017."

The Davis' have retained all the local McDonald's employees, Miller said.

"They're keeping everybody," he said. "They got a chance to meet the staff, and they like our staff."

And all renovations underway at the local restaurants will also continue, Miller said, as the company is making those renovations across all its stores, adding digital kiosks and drive-thru menu boards.

"We renovated a few," he said. "They will continue the plan that McDonald's set forth."

The Millers went to a Chinese restaurant Wednesday to celebrate the sale, and Scott Miller said it will take some time to get used to not working with his family.

"Now we're just going to be a family," he said. "I'm definitely going to miss it."

The Millers will stay in the Champaign-Urbana area, and Scott Miller said he's going to work for Green Street Realty as the head of its new restaurant division.

"We really want to stay here. While we were trying to figure out what's next, I was talking to Chris Saunders, who gave me an offer I couldn't refuse," he said, referring to the owner of Green Street Realty.

At his new job, Miller will be helping people who want to open a restaurant franchise do so.

"We're going to create a restaurant division," he said. "For people who want to be franchisees of restaurants, but don't have the capital resources, we want to provide them with that and invest in those people, and give them the same opportunity I've been given."

Saunders said he's already doing this with a new Culver's in Nebraska.

"Our development side will handle all the construction and provide the turn-key restaurant for the operator, eliminating the burden for the operator of having to raise the funds necessary to do this," he said. "There are a lot of great operators out there; they are just limited by the ability to cover the cost of ground-up construction and restaurant start-up costs."