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The Associated Press reports that one of the two remaining Howard Johnson's restaurants in the country - located in Bangor, Maine - will close in a couple of weeks, leaving only the one in business operating in Lake George, New York.

The story notes that author Stephen King used to be a regular there, but in recent years business has slowed to the point where hours were being cut back and the restaurant stopped serving dinner. And, amazingly, one employee - 68-year-old Kathe Jewett - has been there since the HoJo's opened in 1966, and will be there on the last day of operation; it is the only job she's ever had, and even she concedes that "it’s nothing to be sad about ... I’ve been here for 50 years, and it’s time.”

The AP writes that the Howard Johnson's restaurant chain started in 1925, "once numbered more than 800, with the New England-based restaurant chain predating the ubiquitous Howard Johnson hotels."
KC's View:
I think I've written about this before, but there used to be a Howard Johnson's restaurant and motel in my town that were just awful. The restaurant seemed like a food safety disaster just waiting to happen, and the motel was a place for hookers to hang out so they could service truck drivers using nearby I-95. They got torn down a few years ago, and were replaced by a Whole Foods and a BMW dealership ... a lot cleaner, and offering different kinds of service.

The larger lesson of Howard Johnson's, I think, is the much the same as applies to companies like A&P and Kmart - companies that simply never pivoted to find new ways to be relevant to a changing consumer. Companies simply cannot afford to operate this way, especially at a time when the pace of change seems to be accelerating.

I will say this, however. I'm going to be in Lake George in about a month for a speech, and I'm going to stop by the one remaining Howard Johnson's that is located there. I mean, what the hell ... maybe I'll be surprised.