Cafe’s remodeling is a family, community effort

Staff writer

Town and Country Café in Florence has been a staple for travelers and Marion County residents for generations. For the next few weeks, the café will be getting a facelift and possible preparations for a new owner.

Carolyn Spencer and her husband, Edmond, have owned the café for 18 years. This is their first complete remodel, right down to the wall sockets. The dining room was redone two years ago.

“We’re very excited,” Spencer said. “When it’s done it will be completely different, and you won’t recognize it.

She hopes to have the restaurant open by the middle of February, but it might be as late as the first or middle of March.

“I never liked how the front looked so I got my husband and daughter on the bandwagon. At first we were just going to paint it, but it snow balled from there.”

The remodel will feature new walls, new tile floors both in the eating area and the kitchen, a new stove and refrigerator, and Spencer’s favorite, counter stools based on a 1950s design.

“We’re going for an old-fashioned ’50s and ’60s look,” she said. “I even ordered Coca-Cola lights. The bar stools are being custom made because you can’t hardly find them anymore.”

Two local contractors, Bruce Fetrow and Ken Hoffman, are doing the work.

“We’re trying to keep everything as local as possible,” Spencer said. “People in the area have helped us be successful, so it’s just the right thing to do.”

The biggest change according to Spencer will be relocation of bathrooms, making them handicap accessible.

A new menu is being discussed by Spencer’s daughter, Becky Harris, and son, Dallas Wells. It would feature different types of hamburgers and cheeseburgers alongside the restaurant’s classic menu. Meal prices however will remain unchanged, Spencer said.

Spencer is encouraging Wells to take more of a leadership role in the remodeling. She hopes that he will take over the business so Spencer and her husband, both in their 70s, can retire.

“Since we’ve owned it, it’s always been a family operation, and we’ve always helped each other,” Spencer said. “God has blessed us in more ways than one with this restaurant.”

Community support has been tremendous, Spencer said.

“We’ve had more visitors to see what we were doing and bring us treats,” she said. “They always ask if there’s anything they can do to help.”

In tune to “I’m So Excited” by the Pointer Sisters, Spencer said she could not wait to see the finished product and share it with her customers.

 

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