Plans to close the 54-year-old Edna’s #1 Drive-In on River Road may be put on hold, according to family members who this week started a crowd-funding site to keep it open.
Rachel Tyner, granddaughter of the restaurant’s founders, said she received an outpouring of support from the restaurant’s fans who learned of its March 31 scheduled closing in The State’s March 9 Shop Around column.
Tyner’s grandparents, Edna and Raymond Schumpert, opened the restaurant in 1962. Edna Schumpert died in 2009 and Raymond Schumpert died this past Christmas Eve. Tyner’s mother, Marie Rose Tyner, operated the restaurant until she died last summer.
Tyner, who worked at Edna’s from the time she was 15 until she turned 21, said the building and land owner where Edna’s sits is willing to rent the property to her family for the same price he leased it to her mother.
“The current workers are willing to work if we can get the building up to the new standards required,” Tyner said. “The whole establishment was under a grandfather clause and after my grandfather Raymond's passing, it no longer qualifies and requires much work and finances invested into the business.”
Tyner set a fundraising goal of $15,000 through the website myevent.com on Thursday. By noon Friday, she had received $522.
“Many people are devastated at the loss, as you have probably seen, and are wanting to reach out,” Tyner said. “We have plans and goals. We have a few kinks we had to work out, but things are aligning well and hopefully we can get an outreach from the community that will allow us to keep the establishment open for the enjoyment of the public for many generations to come.”
Though there may be a slight name change to the business, which Tyner didn’t share yet, patrons can expect the most beloved features of the eatery to remain the same, she said.
“Same family, same workers, same great food and hopefully once things are taken care of, adding electronic tender as well as cash to accept different forms of payment would allow much more effective and efficient service for the consumers,” Tyner said. “We have been invested in the business and are ready to fight to save it.”