Longtime Businessman to Sell Piece of Local History

100_2923 By Staff Reports

(Victorville)- Mr. Joe Camera and his sons have selected Joseph W. Brady, President of Joseph W. Brady, Inc., dba The Bradco Companies, the longest standing commercial, industrial, office, retail and land brokerage firm in the High Desert, to sell the former headquarters of his multi-unit McDonald’s Franchise, located at 15614 8th St.

“I am pleased to assist the Camera family in offering this opportunity to acquire an iconic building that personifies a key period in the economic development of the Victor Valley”, stated Mr. Joseph W. Brady, CCIM; SIOR. “Mr. Camera, with his late wife Rose, worked directly with Ray Kroc, founder of the most successful fast food chain in US history, to build one of the Valley’s strongest locally-owned businesses. His stories recalling decades as a prominent McDonald’s franchisee present a fascinating history of a great High Desert business.”

The Cameras’ relationship with McDonalds that ultimately involved owning eight McDonald’s restaurants throughout the High Desert did not begin entirely smoothly. Upon completing the company’s 14-month owner/operator training program, Camera, for various reasons, rejected the first four franchise opportunities offered him by the company. The first offer, for a store under construction in Buellton, was rejected due to Camera’s concerns about working in such close proximity to Ray Kroc, founder of the restaurant chain, who owned a home literally above the restaurant in the hills overlooking the city. Two sites in San Francisco were turned down due to a lack of parking and room for drive-through service and a restaurant in Washington State was similarly rejected, leaving Mr. Camera’s regional manager extremely frustrated and casting doubt on his future with the company.

Meanwhile, Joe befriended a gentleman who happened to be a close friend and personal confidant of Mr. Kroc. Believing Joe Camera to be an ideal McDonald’s franchisee, the man approached Kroc, urging him to assist in finding a good store location. Mr. Camera recalls his friend being asked by Mr. Kroc “isn’t that gentleman a family man with three sons?” His friend responded yes and Mr. Kroc said, “Move Mr. Joe up to Victorville.”

After getting over his initial reaction of “Where in the hell is Victorville?” he and Rose drove up to the High Desert and quickly realized that they would be one of only two fast food facilities in the entire region. The 7th Street building was situated across the street from a well-known facility operated by Del Taco.

Upon perusing the vast expanse of land and considering the fact that Interstate 15 was expanding, they decided that this would be the right place to raise their sons and eventually grow their business. In 1981 the Cameras purchased their first McDonald’s restaurant and relocated to the High Desert.

Joe and Rose paid an aggressive price but felt that the gamble was well worth it, envisioning the Victor Valley as the next Orange County. Although the “record price” paid by the Cameras caused some consternation among other franchisees Camera reasoned that by the time he had purchased multiple stores the average price paid per restaurant would level off. In 1984, the Camera Family opened the I Avenue and Main Street unit, followed by the Mariposa and Bear Valley Road location in 1987 and another in 1989 at Maple and Main Street in Hesperia.

One of Joe Camera’s greatest accomplishments as a McDonald’s franchisee was to win the “Ronald Award” in 1987 as one of the top operators in the entire country. In an ironic twist, the award was presented to Mr. Camera by the same gentleman who had once considered exiling him from the McDonald’s system for turning down multiple store opportunities at the outset of his career with the company.

In August of 1990, Rose Camera informed Joe that with four stores it was time to move the office out of their home and into a real office building. On October 10, 1990, Mr. Camera purchased a building from Herold Chewning for $220,000. From there, they operated a company that ultimately grew to a total of eight units, adding restaurants in Victorville at LaPaz and Roy Rogers Drive, and in Apple Valley on US Highway 18 and at Bear Valley and Apple Valley Road.

On February 1, 2006, the Cameras sold their stores to an operating group that moved into the existing High Desert headquarters of McDonald’s located at 15614 8th Street. Those operators resided in that facility until eventually moving out on August 31, 2016.

“My company is honored to have the opportunity to market this property for the Cameras who have contributed so much to the development of our community,” said Joseph W. Brady. “Once we find the right owner for this historic property it will bring proper closure to Mrs. Rose Camera (deceased) and Mr. Joe Camera and the legacy of their three sons.”

If you would like additional information on this property please call Joseph W. Brady at (760) 951-5111, extension 101

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