The iconic, 54-year-old, Hope Drive-In and Restaurant will shut down this Saturday.
This comes as its owners Gordon Younie, his wife Caroline, and his sister Jean Perry retires.
“I’ve been running around doing business of various kinds on this property for the better part of 40 years now,” said Younie. “And keeping this old place open through the ups and downs of many, many disruptions.”
The highlight of his career, Younie noted is reaching $1 million in sales and opening up the Dairy Queen on Water Street “that set the stage for McDonald’s and everything else,” he said.
His biggest challenge during his career was he had to step away from the restaurant for a few years.
“It sort of fell into disrepair for a few years, walked away, and we had to come back and build it back up,” said Younie, referring to the challenging times around 1995, where issues within his family caused the disruption. “You know how families go, so —”
Over the decades which Younie has run the restaurant, he has seen an evolution.
“In the ‘60s, before the days of the drive-thru and all the commercial franchises, our takeout windows were busy and we actually had a separate kitchen. We had separate dining rooms,” said Younie. “As time went on, it evolved and if you don’t accept change, you’re not going to adapt very well to it, and this place has evolved.”
Among the many avenues of business development the Younies took in that restaurant was running a gift shop. They sold trinkets, postcards and books to customers from around the world.
Then came technological change that the Younies had to embrace.
“I never thought that me in the ’80s or the ’90s would be running a flat screen and a Micros Restaurant E-7 computer,” said Younie, referring to his computerized point-of-sale systems.
The clientele also changed, and that has caused an uptick of orders for soup. Younie said he sells 20,000 bowls of soup annually.
But his menu has always centred around home-style cooking and ensuring every meal feels like home.
“We’ve actually brought people to tears after they’ve left doing business with us — miners, loggers. Because they get treated to home-styled cooking,” said Younie.
The Younie family has had a long history of running restaurants. After the Second World War, Younie’s grandparents opened up El Comando Cantina in Vedder Crossing.
Then in 1962, Younie’s parents bought the Drive-In.
Nov. 5, however, will mark the end of the Drive-In, unless a new management takes it over.
“Change always comes,” said Younie. “Now it’s time for us to move on and we’re going to change, I guess.”
Younie declared that the future for the restaurant is unknown beyond Nov. 5.