BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – The Johnstone family has been franchising McDonald’s in the Panhandle for over sixty years, winning national awards in the process.
But Johnstone Foods Family announced Thursday that their seven stores were acquired by Costa Enterprises.
This news comes as owner Tracy Johnstone was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer about a month ago and has decided to step back to focus on her health and treatment.
“It was time to sell, and not because we don’t passionately love the restaurants. We do. We love what we do but it was clear that I needed to give my full time and best effort to treatment and recovery,” Johnstone said.
But she is pleased she was able to make the deal with another local franchise family, the Costas.
“For our family to be able to sell to the Costa family, which is also local and owns restaurants here, and being able to have the marriage of those two families was just a really beautiful place to be,” Johnstone said. “We weren’t dealing with someone from out of town or far away. We were able to have that continuity of care for our people.”
Costa Enterprises owned 21 restaurants in northwest Florida which became 28 McDonalds with the acquisition of Johnstone Family Foods.
Johnstone said the Costa family has been incredible throughout the process, and have gone above and beyond in showing their support for her.
“I walked into the door to some signs and banners and these buttons on everybody who say ‘Tracy’s Tribe’ ‘Her fight is our fight’ and that was just that moment that I am not walking away from anything. I’m not going to be alone after this. I’m just going to have a bigger circle,” Johnstone said.
As she looks to the future, Johnstone said a foundation may in their future as a way to continue serving the community that has given them so much.