The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Tornado: Columns

July 9, 2011

Wally Kennedy: Landmark Frank's Lounge making comeback

JOPLIN, Mo. — In December, Frank’s Lounge celebrated its 40th anniversary at 2112 S. Main St. The two-story brick building was a landmark of sorts. Most everybody has been to Frank’s at least once.

If you had been, there’s one thing you would remember, and that’s Judy Petty’s collection of liquor decanters. She had a little bit of everything, but her Elvis decanters — well, they were special.

“They were all broken,” Petty said. “Everything was broke. It was heartbreaking. There were 1,500 of them, and they all had liquor in them.’’

Frank’s Lounge was a casualty of May 22. But it’s coming back.

“They’re doing the dirt work now,” she said. “We’ll be laying concrete next week. We’re looking to reopen in late September or early October.’’

She’s constructing a single-floor, steel building that will be larger than the original.

“We’ll have room for karaoke, shuffleboard and pool tables,’’ she said.

Her first instinct was to throw in the towel, but she changed her mind. She could not walk away from 40 years and so many devoted customers.

“Fortunately, we were closed the night of the tornado,” she said. “If there had been people inside, they would not have made it. It was a miracle that no more were lost than what was lost.’’

COMING BACK

Southtown Cleaners, 2630 S. Main St., is coming back. Brigette Pippin, the owner, said blueprints for a new storefront have been prepared and she is waiting on a permit.

“It will have the same square footage, but it will be a little different,” she said. “I’m hoping for a new look on the front.” The shop’s awning and drive-through window, both popular customer-service features, will be retained.

The original building that had housed Southtown Cleaners was a service station.

“Some of the equipment was saved, but they won’t know for sure if they still work until they plug them in,’’ Pippin said.

ON RANGE LINE

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft store, formerly of the Bel-Aire Shopping Center, has relocated to Northpark Mall.

Red Wing Shoes, also formerly of the Bel-Aire Shopping Center, has relocated to a new storefront across from Applebee’s on East 32nd Street.

Wireless Connections, just east of 15th Street and Range Line Road, has reopened in Chase Colton Plaza, a shopping center at 420 N. Range Line Road.

Slumberland Furniture has set up shop in the former MC Sports building at 423 S. Range Line Road.

It seemed to take a while, but work is progressing now on the cleanup of the Academy Sports property and the Bel-Aire Shopping Center.

The foundation of the old Home Depot is just about gone. The foundation for the new Aldi’s is nearing completion.

The walls of the new Wal-Mart store at 15th Street and Range Line are going up. Word on the street indicates Wal-Mart wants to open that store by Thanksgiving.

The Walgreens store and Chick-Fil-A appear to be in a race as to which will finish first. The contractors appear to be so efficient at what they are doing that they could build those stores in their sleep.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, dial 623-3480, ext. 7250; send an email to wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 623-8598.

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