63 Diner auction postponed

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | 5:28 p.m. CDT; updated 6:06 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — The 63 Diner closed its doors Wednesday, but if its owners can work things out with their bank, the restaurant could re-open as soon as Saturday.

Customers and employees of the diner, located in north Columbia, waited outside the Boone County Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon to see if the building and the land it sits on would be sold.

“We were hoping that someone who loved the diner as much as we do would buy it and keep it open the way it is,” said Pam Stroup, who bakes pies at the diner.

An auction was postponed until April 30 to give the lender, Premier Bank, more time to work with the business’s owners, said Tim Sigmund, the trustee for the diner. The auction was planned because the owners defaulted on a $1.23 million loan.

Employees of the diner joked that though they weren’t in the 1950s poodle skirts they wear to work, they were there to show their support for the diner.

“What other restaurant would have its workers and customers come out to the steps of the Boone County Courthouse today?” Stroup said. In the five years she’s baked pies at the diner, she said she’s watched the staff and the restaurant’s regular customers grow closer.

“We are a family, and we want to stay together as a family,” she said.

The diner has been open for nearly 20 years, though it has had several different owners.

It was closed Wednesday, pending the auction, but Stroup said with a little preparation and a trip to the grocery store, it could be open by the weekend.

Its employees still aren’t sure what will happen, or when they can go back to work.

“It’s up in the air right now,” Stroup said. “We’re just on vacation.”

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