Johnstown Restaurant Supply owner to retire

Johnstown Restaurant Supply owner Marie Kaseta Barr is planning to retire after nearly 70 years. The store will remain open through the holidays with closeout sales before the store will close for good. (Photo submitted)

JOHNSTOWN — It’s been a labor of love for nearly 70 years, but the time is right for Marie Kaseta Barr, owner of Johnstown Restaurant Supply at 132 W. Main St., to close its doors in a retirement liquidation.

The store will remain open through the holidays with closeout sales.

“We’ve been so fortunate to be one of Johnstown’s longest running local businesses,” Barr said in a news release. “We’ve been through several economic booms and probably the same amount of economic recessions,” she said. We’ve even had a break-in by a deer.”

That deer break-in made state and local headlines (see Leader-Herald, July 5, 2016, Deer Crashes into Johnstown Restaurant Store) when during the Fourth of July weekend in 2016 a deer jumped through the front window running up and down the aisles until it exited out onto Main Street.

Barr, who was working in the store with her daughter, Joan, recalls, “I survived — and that’s the best heart test I ever had.”

Johnstown Restaurant Supply was started at the home of her late husband George Barr, on Perry Street but moved to Main Street in1978, occupying the historic building right across from the Charles Jenner Memorial Park. There are interesting stories to tell from each year, Barr said, and she and her husband George, and son Martin, were a force of three as they traversed the capital region servicing restaurants throughout the Adirondacks.

“When an offer on the building was made late last fall — long before COVID-19 — I knew that the timing was right to retire,” Barr said.

The offer coincided with the sudden passing of her son, Martin, who ran Adirondack Occasions Party and Rental, and worked part-time in the store.

While Barr remains active in running the business, at 93, and with slightly failing eyesight, she’s had to do so in the background, counting on Phyllis Oare, as her right-hand person running the store operation for the past 13 years. Barr said that while she had hoped to continue the legacy of Johnstown Restaurant Supply, the new buyer has other plans for developing the 16,000 square foot downtown property. Shawn Beebie, owner of Second Wind Coffee on Main Street in Johnstown is purchasing the historic property, with plans to redevelop it into a mixed-use building.

By Paul Wager