The longest-operating chain restaurant in the City of White Rock has kicked the bucket.
White Rock’s KFC closed its doors this month after operating at 1531 Johnston Rd. for the past 49 years.
The significance of the loss of a small fried-chicken joint may be questioned by outsiders, but the memories created on both sides of KFC’s counter make it a sentimental place for some longtime White Rock residents – several of whom offered up a few juicy tidbits about the goings on at the restaurant over the past five decades.
Weston Carmody recalled being manager for the store in 1972 when a few of his buddies played a prank on him.
Carmody wrote on Facebook that the store used to have a life-sized cutout of Colonel Sanders in the lobby, until it was stolen.
While Carmody was working, the store’s doorbell rang. The culprits had gone, but an anonymous was letter left behind.
“I opened it to find a Polaroid picture of the Colonel (cutout) gagged and bound in chains! And a ransom note for a bucket of chicken and 1/2 gallon of orange honeydew drink to be left out at the sign by 5 PM,” Carmody shared.
“I complied and soon up rolls a 57 Chevy. Three guys jump out, drop the colonel and pick up the loot! Thanks to Berry Kerfoot, Jim Goodie and Ken Sully. Best prank ever!”
Michel Elshof, who said he worked at the KFC in the ’70s, claimed to have lost his job at the restaurant after the owner made a bad bet.
“The owner went to a Canucks game and bet the restaurant that the Canucks would win and they lost,” Elshof wrote.
“He lost the restaurant and everyone there lost their jobs.”
Susie Zacharias wrote that she worked there throughout high school and college from 1988 to 1993.
“Tons of memories. Held up at gun point, went to court to testify against a manager that was stealing, another manager that said he got hit over the head and the robbers made him open the safe, a fire after closing (minor), a contest with other stores for greatest service and my coworker won a car,” Zacharias wrote.
KFC customers also recalled their fondest memories of ordering the “finger-lickin’ good” chicken.
“I just ordered there on Skip the Dishes on Saturday! I still have leftovers in my fridge.. maybe I’ll sell it on eBay as a souvenir!” GB Robins wrote. “I still remember toonie Tuesday.. two pieces for two bucks. As a kid it was awesome.”
Ken David wrote that on opening day, he received a free bucket of chicken and sides and “thought I’d died and gone to heaven that day!”
Some residents claimed the White Rock KFC was the last in the country to have the iconic red-and-white bucket as its sign, although it stopped rotating years ago.
Much to the dismay of some residents, the bucket was removed after it sustained damage as a result of the Dec. 20, 2018 windstorm that also destroyed a section of the White Rock Pier.
“What the hell is happening to my town,” Darren Bennett wrote on the Peace Arch News Facebook page after the bucket was removed. “First the pier and now the bucket.”
A resident was quick to joke that the bucket could be used as a placeholder to fix the pier, and shared a photo of the logistics.
Public relations representative for KFC, Alex Thomas told PAN Wednesday that KFC closed the White Rock restaurant in an effort to revitalize the KFC brand and is not in anyway a reflection of the dedication and contributions of its team members.
“This is not a goodbye forever, though. We have plans to re-open in White Rock with one of our new restaurant designs. Stay tuned for details,” Thomas wrote.
Contrary to rumour, Thomas added that there are, in fact, still a few restaurants in Canada that are “adorn(ed by) that large iconic bucket sign.”