10 New Hampshire Businesses We All Wish Were Still Open
These popular local destinations are long gone, but their memory will live on for all of us here in New Hampshire.
There is no harder form of nostalgia than driving by the spot that used to have your favorite food, the best spot to hang out with friends or the cheapest deals.
New Hampshire has a rich history of small businesses that have faded away into history. Some of them came with years of memories, while others were just a flash in the pan after a few years. Regardless of how long these destinations were around, there were plenty of customers that loved them.
We asked our fans to share their favorite New Hampshire businesses that are closed now, but we wish were still open. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Granite State Potato Chip Factory
The Granite State Potato Chip Factory was a staple in New Hampshire for 102 years before closing in 2007. Located at 227 North Broadway in Salem, the facility was one of the first to manufacture potato chips in the country. The property is now home to a Dunkin' Donuts. You can get a full history on this factory from Salem Community Television.
2. Yoken's Restaurant
The “Thar She Blows!" sign for Yoken's Restaurant is still around, and even got refurbished, but unfortunately the seafood restaurant closed since 2004. This Portsmouth staple on Lafayette Road now has a Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, Rite-Aid pharmacy and a Five Guys restaurant.
Ames used to be the fourth largest discount retailer in the United States, but it closed its doors for good in 2002. It had a long history since it opened in 1958 with a total of 700 stores in 20 states at its peak. That ended and the department store was crushed by debt, and the decline in sales did not help matters in the least.
4. Benson's Wild Animal Farm
Opening in 1924, Benson's Wild Animal Farm was a popular destination for animals, amusement rides and other attractions. It was home to exotic animals including trained lions, bears, llamas, a gorilla, elephants, monkeys, and many kinds of birds. This private zoo closed in 1989, but it is now being redeveloped as a public park and nature area by the town of Hudson.
5. Happy Wheels
Happy Wheels, later called Roller Skate Newington, had been a favorite for kids and families looking for a fun night out in New Hampshire. It closed in 2011 after being open since December 1983. You can see the final night of skating in the video above, where fans said goodbye to a local staple. The property is now home to a Habitat for Humanity resale outlet
6. Building #19
Anyone looking for "good stuff cheap" knew that Building #19 was the place to go for deals. This New England shopping destination offered some new merchandise, but specialized in selling factory irregulars, discontinued models, post-expiration-date and damaged items. The discount warehouse chain filed for bankruptcy in 2013 after over 40 years of business.
7. Martins Drive-In
This local landmark in Rochester offered takeout-style food for 37 years before the owner decided to retire in 2014. Former owner Paul Navelski closed his business at the age of 66 after many years of frying up and cooking for locals. Reviews show that the onion rings were a popular choice, but the burgers were also second-to-none.
8. Pearl's Bakery
Pearl's Bakery is now the 45 Market Street Bakery & Cafe, but locals fondly remember the old bakery as a must-go in the area. Pearl's Bakery opened its doors in Somersworth in 1976. Those who remember it are all about the donuts they used to make, and who doesn't love donuts?
9. Wings Your Way
Wings Your Way had a lot of potential, and apparently the best wings around, but couldn't sustain itself in the post-recession economy. The short-lived restaurant location had a very dedicated fanbase who mourned the loss of the business when it closed its doors in 2011. The chain seemed to be growing well for the few years after arriving in New Hampshire, but the economic reality could not be avoided.
10. Mike's Red Barn
This landmark on Main Street in Salem was forced to close its doors in 2011 after 30 years of business. The owner of the meat market, deli and grocery store blamed the store's closure on bad economic conditions. Another small local business that fell victim to bad financial times.