Archive for Sunday, October 17, 1993

CUSTOMERS LAMENT LOSS OF EATERY

October 17, 1993

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Woolworth regulars say the store's lunch counter will be missed. The counter's friendliness, convenience and service were its hallmarks, they say.

A tempting slice of pumpkin pie waited in front of Cathy Thomas on Saturday as she sat in a booth at Woolworth's lunch counter.

"I've made a lot of friends in here," Thomas said. "I've lived in Lawrence, I guess, for about 12 years and I used to come in every day for breakfast when I worked. It's one of my favorite places."

Thomas was among several customers Saturday at Woolworth's lunch who said they would miss the 27-year-old downtown eatery, 913 Mass. The store is set to be closed by the end of January as part of a corporate cutback. The 91-seat lunch counter is expected to close before that.

When the lunch counter closes within the next couple of months, a slice of Americana goes with it, they said.

"I don't think there will be anything that will take the place of this place," said Astrid Ott, Eudora, who was sitting at a booth with Thomas and James Lewis, both of Lawrence.

The trio said they'll miss the breakfasts and the lunches they shared at the lunch counter.

"I come here pretty often," Lewis said. "It's a shame to see it close down. It's convenient for me. Everybody's helpful. This is a central place for people from Vermont Towers. When it's closed down, it will inconvenience a lot of people."

Maureen Arman, Lawrence, said she works at nearby Weaver's Department Store and eats lunch regularly at Woolworth's.

"I think it means a lot to a lot of the people around here and to the people who live close by," she said. "They have good food here, too."

Arman said several of her co-workers at Weaver's eat at the lunch counter.

Sitting at window booth, Sharon Guthrie, Lawrence, said she's been a regular at the lunch counter since the late 1960s.

"I've been coming here ever since I was a kid, probably early teens," Guthrie said. "It's real comfortable to sit in here. The people and the waitresses are friendly."

Guthrie, who comes in about two to three times a week, says she fondly remembers the strawberry shortcake from her teen-age years.

And a little of her son's history is tied to the store, she said.

Back in December 1970, she remembered walking to the lunch counter from 13th Street, carrying her baby son.

"He got to be too heavy to carry home, so I bought a stroller back in here," Guthrie said, motioning to the main part of the store. "I pushed a brand new stroller home."

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