They were here, now they are gone

Floyd's Piggly Wiggly in 1965. The '57 Ford in the photo belonged to then FCHS Senior Doug Thompson.
Floyd’s Piggly Wiggly in 1965. The ’57 Ford in the photo belonged to then FCHS Senior Doug Thompson.

After dwelling Monday on the decline, and some say is the rapidly-approaching death, of newspapers, I realized that many business icons of our lives also faced falling fortunes and non-existence.

Floyd used to be home to some national retail chain locations:  The Ben Franklin on the corner of Main and Locust and a Western Auto outlet on North Main between Rutrough’s Drug Store and Blue Ridge Restaurant.

Both chains died.

Piggly Wiggly had a store in Floyd at around the same time.  No more, although the chain still exists.

Lots of places we used to know are gone, not just here but around the country.

Howard Johnsons restaurants, which offered clam strips, ice cream and more at more than 800 locations in its heyday, is losing one of its last two eateries in September when the HoJos in Bangor, Maine, closes on Sept. 6.  One restaurant remains in Great Gorge, New York.

Both Sears and K-Mart are gone in Christiansburg.  They are owned by the same failing retailer.

Macy’s Department Stores, which has a location in Roanoke, is closing 100 of its stores nationwide next year.  Some of the locations that will close once housed chains like Hechts, Famous-Barr and others absorbed by the retailer.

Macy’s closings are joined by at least 10 other national retailers who are closing 100 or more locations in early 2017.  The closings could also trigger the end of many shopping malls.

During our time in Washington, Amy and I witnessed the shuttering of two major department store chains:  Woodward & Lothrop and Garfinckel’s.

I have a drawer at home with cards from Airline Clubs that no longer exist: TWA Ambassadors, Pan Am, Piedmont, Eastern and more.

We used to eat frequently at Magic Pan in the Seven Corners Shopping Center in Falls Church.  It was the last survivor of a once thriving chain and closed shortly after we left Northern Virginia and the National Capital Region.

One of the first restaurants we found when moving to Arlington in 1981 was Tom Sarris’ Orleans House in Rosslyn, which had great prime rib and an incredible salad bar.  It closed in 2008 after a 42-year run.

Gone too is Penn Camera, the Washington shop that catered to photojournalists.  So is Ewald-Clark in Roanoke, which served my photo needs when I worked at The Roanoke Times in the 1960s.  It became part of a national photo chain that folded.

No memory of what was, but is not now, would not be complete without remembering Moses Restaurant on North Locust Street.  Mrs. Moses sat by the cash register and monitored all that happened in her eatery, which featured great steaks and other offerings supplied by local farmers.

Recent losses in the Floyd area include Cafe del Sol, operated by Sally Walker in the location that is now Dogtown Roadhouse, Mama Lazzardos where The Station at South Locust now sits and Natasha’s over the Harvest Moon.

Good memories and some good times.

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