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Longtime downtown cafe shuts down shop

Owner says future of building is uncertain

Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – Paul Blackburn and about a dozen other regulars will have to find a new place to get a cup of coffee.

Fern’s Cafe, 314 W. First St., a longtime staple in downtown Dixon, closed its operation Saturday, business operator Rod Garman said.

Many factors played a role in closing the business, including the need for updates to the building, he said.

He will not be involved in reopening the business, Garman added.

Building and restaurant owner Christa Hicks said she doesn’t know the future of the building or the business just yet, saying the building needs some work.

To Blackburn, 64, Fern’s was a nice place to stop and socialize with “good people.”

“They had friendly people there, as nice as possible,” said Blackburn, who went there nearly every day for the past 30 years for either coffee or food. “It really wasn’t a shock to see it close, because I could see it coming. I haven’t really decided yet where I’m going to go now.”

Garman said he would get about 50 to 75 customers a week opening only only during daytime hours. About 12 of those people, such as Blackburn, he saw nearly every day.

The cafe has been there since at least 1981, he said.

The closure is the third on that downtown block alone this summer.

Marceile’s Consignment and Resale, 101 S. Peoria Ave., had an announcement on its window that it will be closing soon, and Wermers Decorating Center, 313 W. First St., is closing as soon as it sells the remainder of its merchandise.

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