So what happened to the Snack Bar?
In September 1963 Howard “Skippy” Klopp died, and presumably the Snack Bar went to his wife Hattie. His son Lynn continued to work there, but sometime in 1964 the family decided to sell. This was the same time that Sterling Drug was opening its Winthrop Laboratory factory in Myerstown (or was Winthrop opening its Sterling factory?), and Lynn and quite a few other folks were signing up to work there. Including my mother, who was closing down her beauty shop, but that’s another story.
The first buyers were Loraine and Charley Anspach. Loraine was the sister of my classmate Bobby Weinhold—sorry, Rob Weinhold.
I don’t think I’ll ever stop thinking of him as Bobby, but then he’ll never stop thinking of me as Jimmy, as we recently told each other. I’d say that we’ve known each other since I moved to Richland when I was eight years old in 1957, but it’s probably longer than that. My grandparents lived on South Race Street and we’d often visit them, and of course, their son Reed lived with them. While Reed was my uncle, he was a mere three years older than I was, so he seemed more like a cousin, and when I was visiting, I’d hang out with him and his friends, among whom was Bobby Weinhold who lived just a couple houses further south on Race Street. So who knows how long Rob and I have known each other?
Anyway, Loraine and Charley Anspach were the initial buyers of the Snack Bar. And one of the first things they did was— Well, I’ll let Randy Klopp, my classmate and the grandson of Skippy tell it.
Randy still had a paper route and the Snack Bar served as the drop-off point for the papers, so that’s where he went to pick them up. I sometimes subbed for Randy when he was ill or on vacation, so I’d walk with him to get to know the route.
“Do you know what they did?” Randy said to me, shortly after the new owners had taken charge.
I confessed that I did not.
“They lowered the whole grill so they’re cooking on top of it now.”
He seemed a bit put out by it.
Not everyone adapts to change well.
I remember Charley because I’d have to pick up the papers when I subbed for Randy, and I recall eating in the Snack Bar few times, and sure enough, the hamburgers were now cooked on top of the grill, so they were in full view at all times. Didn’t seem worth getting excited about.
But shortly after that I think I didn’t patronize the Snack Bar very much. Skippy’s either. Not that I had anything against either one of them, but in 1965, I turned 16, and you know what that means. Or meant.
I got my driver’s license. And as most of my school friends were in neighboring communities, and by this time we were a two car family, I got to use the car a lot and visit Gary and Maryann and Debbie and the rest of the gang—well, you get the idea. And if I stopped to get a burger, I’d probably stop at that drive-in place on route 422 just outside of Myerstown—what was it called? [It was the Twin Kiss, as I recalled when I exchanged a couple messages with Rob.]
So that’s probably why I don’t remember Cliff and Dot Albert buying the Snack Bar. When I was trying to recall the name of the first buyer the other day and I asked my sister, she said it was Cliff Albert, and I said no way, so I was distressed to find that she was right in that Cliff was a buyer, just not the first.
Anyway, keeping it in the family, Cliff and Dot were Bobby’s, I mean Rob’s, uncle and aunt.
They only kept it a few years before they sold it to Luther Mathias. I remember him as he had it in the mid 70s. He was the father of Larry Mathias, anther Elco kid.
And after that I pretty much lost track of it. When I was asking around I heard that Chris Good was yet another owner for a spell, but I believe he was well after my time.
Why did it change hands so often? I don’t know, of course, but I can offer one informed speculation.
The times they were a-changing, and the mom and pop style stores of small town America were losing their customers because the population was becoming more mobile. Like me, for example. I wasn’t the only teenager who was driving and getting my burgers out of town. And with the rise of shopping malls and discount department stores there were more and more reasons for adults, not just teens, to drive out of town. Richland’s Neptune Theatre didn’t survive the 60s, nor, alas, did Richland’s annual carnivals. So it wouldn’t be surprising to find that the local luncheonettes were struggling a bit to make ends meet. That’s just a guess, of course.
When I went back to Richland ten years ago with Jane and Allen, I saw that the former Snack Bar had been remodeled beyond recognition and was now called Guy’s Diner, but it was no longer open for business and was up for sale.