It's the end of an era. The picture above is Dave Thomas, founder of the Wendy's restaurant, standing in front of the original Wendy's in downtown Columbus, Ohio. On Friday, this first Wendy's restaurant will close its doors for the last time. (Columbus Dispatch)
"This was a painful decision," Denny Lynch, a spokesman at Wendy’s headquarters in Dublin, said yesterday after confirming the move. "The store is a walking history of the company."As you probably know, I've lived in Ohio most of my life. And, I've been to Columbus lots of times. Unfortunately, I had no idea the first and original Wendy's was in downtown Columbus. If I did, then I would have visited there often.
Wendy’s had put off the decision to close the restaurant at 257 E. Broad St. for years, and acted only after determining that the building would require a costly upgrade.
Dave Thomas, who died in 2002, opened the restaurant Nov. 15, 1969, as Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers. It was named for his 8-year-old daughter, Melinda Lou, whose nickname was Wendy. The chain now has 6,600 stores.In many cities across the United States, many businesses are fleeing from the downtown area. Columbus is no different. There used to be a science center right across the street from this particular Wendy's, and then they moved as well.
The restaurant had its own set of problems. It lacked a drive-through, had limited parking and was not open in the evening because of the lack of dinner traffic.I definitely have mixed feelings about this. When people want to keep something just for a sense of tradition or sentimentality, I'm pretty harsh on them. "Sometimes you have to let go of the past and embrace the present and look to the future," I sometimes say to people.
The flagship store’s closing will have far more sentimental impact than any financial effect on Columbus or on Wendy’s, said Richard Steckel, economics professor at Ohio State University.
"A lot of people had their first dates there, and the people who work for the company are definitely attached to it," he said. "It’s always sad to see a landmark like that go, but it’s the nature of capitalism."
Even when people say that Dave Thomas himself would have agreed with this move, it doesn't make me feel any better. Maybe a new restaurant will be built and all the memorabilia will be placed there? Of course, the restaurant would be built in the suburbs and not in downtown, because that's probably what Dave would want anyway - For better business...