The end of an era

August 9, 2013

It’s been a fixture for decades, and even though the Jordan Shopping Plaza Hardees closed its doors Wednesday, the thousands of memories made at the long-time fast food chain won’t soon be forgotten. And more can be made at the other location, just across town on Sunset Avenue, ensuring that one of Sampson’s oldest chain restaurants remains a viable part of our community.

After all, Hardees, along with The Little Pep, were the fast food joints of generations, the place people went to enjoy a burger, perhaps a shake, and always a lot of lively conversation.

For many teenagers, the Hardees — first on College Street and later at Jordan — to Little Pep trek was as much a rite of passage as tooling around the courthouse square. In fact, both were part of the weekend activities for many young people in Clinton and Sampson County year after year, generation after generation. The parking lot was always full, the drive-thru bumper-to-bumper with cars and the restaurant packed inside. It wasn’t just teenagers, but there was a fair share of young people to be seen on any given weekend.

In later years, particularly after Fussells closed, the Jordan Plaza Hardees became a place for adults to spend their mornings, enjoying a cup of coffee, sharing the latest news and even a little gossip from time to time. And, as reported in a story about the Hardees closure Wednesday, it also became a place for ladies in a Grace Methodist Church Bible Study group to gather for fellowship at least once a week.

Of course, the eatery was also a place to grab a hamburger, particularly for those in neighborhoods closest to the Jordan Plaza location, a more convenient trip than the trek across town to restaurants and fast-food chains on Sunset Avenue.

No matter whether it was used for a soda and a little hanging out, a cup of coffee and news talk or an evening meal with the family, Hardees in Jordan Plaza has been as much a part of Sampson County as rec football or eating barbecue pork. And though there’s another location in our midst, it won’t make the loss any less felt by those who have frequented it through the years.

While we are saddened at the news that the Jordan location has closed its doors, we are pleased to see that the employees have all been placed. Loss of jobs would have made the closure that much more difficult to take.

It is our hope now that the vacant plaza building won’t stay that way long, providing residents another restaurant option and growing our city and county’s economy in the process.