ROCKINGHAM — Shoney’s in Rockingham has closed down.
The restaurant’s closed on Monday and workers began to empty out its building. The door to the restaurant had a simple white sheet of paper with the word “closed” handwritten on it.
Shoney’s, a casual dining restaurant, has been in operation since 1947 and has decorated the side of East Broad Avenue in Rockingham for around 30 years.
Charles Graham, CEO and president of local franchise owner Graham Foods, was at the site where dumpsters were filled with pieces of the restaurant.
“Graham Foods owned and operated this facility,” Graham said. “Claude Smith owns the building itself.”
The company took out a 30 year lease on the building and now the lease is expired.
“We are emptying out the building in compliance with the lease,” Graham said.
And it appeared that was exactly what was being done. Pictures that decorated the walls of the restaurant could be seen through the windows lying on the floor of the restaurant as wood and furniture decorated the outside of the restaurant. The famous lettering at the top of the restaurant had already been taken down.
The decision to not renew the lease boiled down to cost effectiveness. Due to the renovations and upgrading that the building needed, the renewing of the lease and the profits continuing to operate the restaurant ultimately was not enough.
“The cost to continue the operation would not have been justified,” Graham said.“It is a sad day. Most people in this county have come and gone through the doors of this restaurant, but we’ve had a good run here. Rockingham is a great town, and I’m sad to see it go.”
It was not immediately available how many workers Shoney’s in Rockingham employed or how much notice they were given.