A lot of changes for the better
NORTH RIVER - The destruction of Molly's Dairy Bar in North River does not mean the end of a community icon.
The popular dairy bar was demolished last week, but owners Bev and Gary Whidden are rebuilding the facility, with many new and updated features to come.
"The building had its day, it was unsafe especially the back portion and roof structure," said Bev, who along with her husband have owned the dairy bar for six years. "People will see a lot of changes for the better."
The new facility, which will be named Molly's Dairy Bar and Abbie's Cafe, will double in size and will add new features including indoor seating, a patio, a cafÉ, public washrooms, handicapped entrance and increased parking.
"We will have in and out (lanes) and lined and paved parking," said Bev.
She anticipates the ice cream and dairy bar opening April of 2010 with the cafÉ being fully functional in June.
Bev said the community relies on the dairy bar and its continued service is important to the public.
"It's a family place to go. It's an icon that everybody knows ... we've had guests from all over Canada. There's a sense of pride and tradition," said Bev.
She also has childhood memories of special trips to the popular spot.
"I remember stopping by from the exhibition and taking Sunday drives ... that was our treat if we had the money," she said of the family of 11.
The dairy bar was built in 1943 by James Paul Norrie and was originally called Fundy Jersey Farm.
"It was a hobby farm and dairy bar to begin with ... and didn't sell ice cream until many years later," said Truro's Rod Norrie, son of James Paul.
"I remember brow-beating the men to get us free chocolate milk. They would give it to us as long as it didn't interfere with supper," recalled Norrie.
The family sold the business in the 1950s a few years after James Paul died. According to Norrie, North River's Bill Murray bought the business, followed by Salmon River's
Sherman Donkin and then the Whiddens.
Despite the various owners, Norrie said it was a little emotional watching the building come down last week.
"It was run down and an old building ... things change ... but there was a little sorrow," said Norrie.