VAN BUREN - Andy's Store is no more.
After being a staple of the Van Buren community for more than 80 years, the combination grocery store and post office closed its doors for good at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Bob Boorady, the current store owner/operator and post master, says he tried to sell the store but could find no takers.
OBSERVER Photo by Joan Josephson
At the request of customers, Bob Boorady uses his Van Buren Post Office cancellation stamp to imprint the Van Buren postmark for the last time on a series of post cards on the final day of business for Andy’s Store.
"I had no choice but to simply shut it down," he says, adding he informed the postal authorities of his retirement 30 days ago.
As he was sharing this information, customers came into the store and asked him to use his stamp to cancel post cards.
He willingly obliged.
While he was completing this request, he provided background on the store.
"It was started in the summer of 1929 by Andrew Abraham, a friend of our family. That's where the name Andy's comes from," Bob says, standing behind the counter where he spent 51 years, serving the Van Buren community.
He goes on to note that he can count multiple generations of his customers as friends.
Among them are Bob and Mary Steele Holm who spent their honeymoon at Van Buren 50 years ago and celebrated their golden wedding anniversary there with Bob Boorady as one of the guests.
"Our son, David, composed a song about going to Andy's for candy and sang it at our anniversary celebration," Mrs. Holm recalls.
She says he and other Van Buren youngsters remember riding their bikes to Andy's for this candy.
Bob and his brothers also had a long-standing relationship with the OBSERVER.
"Beginning in 1936 or 1937, we delivered it to the customers in Van Buren and I still have the red bike we used," he says.
Bob says his family took over the store in 1959 and he became its owner in June 1971. That's when he also became the Van Buren post master.
"The post office used to be next to the community building until it was moved to the store," he says.
"It's time to move on. I'm going to be living in Grand Island with my daughter," he says, adding, "I don't know where the years went."
"We sure are going to miss you," Mrs. Holm said as her husband picked up and paid for a copy of the OBSERVER.
Other friends have been calling and wishing him the best.
"The phone has been ringing all day," he says.
For more than 80 years, Andy's met the needs of the Van Buren community. Now, it appears, the residents will have to look elsewhere for this service.
As Bob says rather sadly, "It's time to move on."
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