It didn't take long for the Joe Jr.'s space to come on the market. Already, the For Rent sign is in the window.
The 35-year-old luncheonette closed this weekend after a brief but impassioned struggle to stay alive--mostly from its upset and loyal patrons, who have started a Fan Site and a Facebook page: Friends of Joe Jr.'s.
On the Facebook page, they write: "Even though everything has been taken out, from the grill to the tops of the counter stools, I'd encourage everyone to call the management company and continue to complain about Joe's being gone... Let's not make it easy for them."
Indeed, the place is already being gutted. The booths have been taken apart, their vinyl-covered cushions stacked on the counter. Even the swivel stools have been unswiveled.
While I was taking these photos, an elderly man walked up to the door and peered in. With a shocked look on his face, he said, "They're closed? But they were always full. There were always people inside, eating! How could this happen?"
It happens. All over town, it happens that thriving businesses, shops and restaurants loved by many customers, are put out of business. These days, more often than not, they stay empty, their "For Rent" signs an exercise in futility. And another place that hummed with life becomes a black eye of blight on the streets.
Maybe we'll find ourselves looking at art here, ironic installations on the meaning of cheeseburgers and community--instead of eating cheeseburgers and being connected to that community.
And then it will be empty again--until it is turned into another bank, another fro-yo shop, another nothing.
Check out this information on the Small Business Survival Act:
Clyde Fitch Report
Joe Jr.'s at Christmas
Last Supper at Joe's
Save Joe Jr.'s