Edna’s #1, the longstanding hamburger and hot dog stand on the side of the road on River Drive, permanently closed when workers wrap up business Thursday at 7 p.m.
“It is actually closing for good,” said Mercedes Hair, the daughter of Raymond Schumpert and stepdaughter of Edna Schumpert, the couple who founded the eatery 57 years ago. “It’s run its course,” she said of the still popular business just outside of the Earlewood community.
For days now, customers have formed long lines outside the nondescript, carry-out restaurant waiting to place an order.
Columbia residents Miriam Sling and her daughter, Sarah Fling, were among those who visited Edna’s during the lunch hour Wednesday. The older Fling said her stepfather first brought them to Edna’s when Sarah was a child.
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“We wanted to come out and just celebrate Edna’s,” said Miriam Sling. “They have been a real good part of Columbia for many years. We got two polish sausages, and they’re just the best. And we really hate to see them go.”
Hair, who said she met her husband at Edna’s, is one of six surviving children of the couple who founded the business in 1959.
One family member, Rachel Tyner, a granddaughter of the Schumperts, had briefly launched an effort two weeks ago to save the eatery. Tyner told The State she started a crowd-funding site aimed at raising $15,000 to keep the food stand open.
Tyner is the daughter of Marie Rose Tyner, who had operated the restaurant since Edna Schumpert died in 2009. Marie Rose Tyner operated the business until her death last summer. Then, last Christmas Eve, Raymond Schumpert died.
Marie Rose Tyner would have inherited the business after Raymond Schumpert’s death.
As owner, Raymond Schumpert had been allowed to operate the business in the circa 1940 building on River Drive in its “as-is” condition, said Hair, executor of Schumpert’s estate, which she said is now in probate.
Neither the building nor the equipment in the building is “up to code,” Hair said, and the costs of bringing the place in line with applicable codes far exceeds $15,000, she said.
On advice of their family attorney, Hair said she polled the surviving heirs, and the majority wanted to close the business down.
None wanted the potential liability that would come with the operation, Hair said.
Several attempts to reach Rachel Tyner this week were unsuccessful.
The building that houses Edna’s #1 is owned by Columbia resident Bess Gayle, a descendent of the late Hazel Stuckey, who owned the Stuckey Timber Co., previously located nearby on Broad River Road. Stuckey told The State she plans to sell the place.
Hair said she fretted most about the potential for a large sum of money being collected to upgrade the building to meet city and county codes only to have Edna’s still close permanently. “I want to go out in glory, as a tribute to them – to Edna, really,” Hair said of her late stepmother. “It was hers for many, many years.”
Roddie Burris: 803-771-8398