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Shoney's closes its doors after 20 years

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Aug. 21, 2001
After 20 years as a beacon for weary travelers and a strawberry pie stop for locals, Shoney's has closed its doors.
Naylor met her husband, Donald, at the South Frontage Road restaurant, known for its famous hot fudge cake and breakfast bar.
Employees learned of the closing when they reported for work Monday morning.
Rick Arras, president and CEO of Shoney's restaurants, said the store wasn't profitable enough.
Arras said restaurant officials are trying to relocate some of the Meridian restaurant's 45 employees. Naylor said she is not sure what she or other longtime employees will do next.
Naylor was popular with many regular customers. One man regularly brought his wife, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, because Naylor was the only person who could get her to eat. In the end, Naylor hand-fed the woman as a courtesy to the husband, and attended the woman's funeral when she died.
Naylor said she will especially miss dedicated waitress Bessie Hopson, "the one who was willing to go the last mile for me," assistant kitchen manager Paul Burrage, "the one who could always keep you laughing," and kitchen manager Linda Horne, "the one who kept me strong and never let me doubt myself as a manager."
Naylor said she enjoyed many good times during her career with Shoney's, fondly remembering the time she tricked area manager Gary Piercy into thinking they had failed a company inspection.
Headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., Shoney's owns, operates and franchises more than 400 restaurants in 23 states.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for the Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.