WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — If a picture is worth a thousand words, Sue Shields’ sign is more of a blurb.
Her sign has two messages for people. Heading southbound on Westerville Road it reads, “Sue says forced to close heavy heart thanks to all.” Heading northbound the sign reads,” Kicked out 29 yrs. good friends love to all.”
The rest of the story is a little deeper. The property in which Yogi’s Hoagies sits has been sold and Sue was given 60 days to vacate the building.
NBC4i.com first reported on Yogi’s Hoagies in January of this year. Shields had posted a message on the sign that read, “Sue says help me stay eat here today.” A picture of the sign was posted on social media and it went viral.
“My business depends mostly on the drive-thru orders, and I’ve had my phone off the hook since noon,” said Sue in January. “We’re just in a wonderful place now. The parking lot has been filled, the store has been filled, people are so nice.”
The long-standing restaurant in Westerville will close by Labor Day, September 7. Yogi’s Hoagies opened 29 years ago when Suzanne Shields was looking for a better way to work and take care of her mother.
“I thought I was going to get fired from my job,” she said. “I have never been fired.”
Shields had been taking a lot of time off from her job at a chain restaurant to tend to her mother’s health needs when a friend told her about the location of a building on Westerville Road that was available for lease.
“So I opened the restaurant up,” Shields said. “It was here long before me. Things like an ice cream shop or a hotdog stand.”
The customer base is mainly local people. From those who still live here to people like Janice Shuman, 53. She lives in Cleveland now and grew up a few blocks away on Electric Avenue. Yes, she knows the song.
“Even the people at the BMV would sing it to me, ‘Rock on to the Electric,” Shuman said chuckling. Every time I come here I have to get my sub.
She recalled coming to the building to get sandwiches when she was in elementary school with her mom.
“Mom’s passed away, no crying, so even the I eat them, I think of her,” Shuman said with a laugh while tears swelled in her eyes.
The building reminds the customers of the good ole days, even before the place was run by Shields.
“Nothing’s changed here. I like things the way they are,” Shields said.
Customers like Shuman have been flocking to Yogi’s to get their last taste of yesteryear.
“It’s just an incredible thing that’s happened here,” Shields said of the customers who are visiting. “They start crying and I cry. We cry together and I’m waiting on them.”
Shields explained that she has hired a real estate agent to help her find a new place to operate. The challenge she faces is that nobody is responding to her or the agent.
“I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how not to work,” Sue said.