A drive-by goodbye for Four Leaf Clover’s owners, staff in Bernardston

  • Linda Snow, co-owner of the Four Leaf Clover Restaurant in Bernardston, waves to the parade of vehicles driving by Wednesday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Mark and Linda Snow outside their Four Leaf Clover Restaurant Wednesday evening. The Bernardston business is closing after 71 years due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Mark and Linda Snow, left, and their employees gathered in the Four Leaf Clover Restaurant just prior to a drive-by parade to honor them. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Mark and Linda Snow wave to the parade of vehicles that drove by the Four Leaf Clover Restaurant Wednesday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 12/31/2020 6:06:21 PM
Modified: 12/31/2020 6:06:11 PM

BERNARDSTON — Sirens blended with whistles and cheers Wednesday evening as friends, family, neighbors and customers turned out for a goodbye drive-by parade on the penultimate night of the Four Leaf Clover Restaurant’s closure in Bernardston.

The restaurant announced in mid-December that it would be closing after 71 years of business in Franklin County.

“COVID killed us,” said Linda Snow, co-owner with her husband, Mark Snow.

She said the business had reopened in June after an initial shutdown, but could not recover financially. She said it was hard to pay bills without the normal volume of service, and they were paying more to stay open than it would have cost to be closed. Mark Snow said they had losses as high as $5,000 per month, for multiple months.

Mark Snow said their lease for the building at 19 South St. ends in January, hence their final day of Dec. 31. While the Snows said it was a difficult decision to make, and they are still grappling with the closure, they are also trying to look forward to new opportunities — some of which they said they can’t share yet.

“All we can say is there’s something in the making,” Linda Snow said.

Robert Campbell, known as disc jockey “Bobby C,” worked with the Bernardston Police and Fire departments to organize the community drive-by parade for the owners and staff of the Four Leaf Clover. Campbell said he and his family were not only a longtime, regular customers of the restaurant, but he was also a longtime friend of the owners.

“I put this parade together because after over 70 years in business they deserve a farewell parade, a thank you from the community members who appreciate everything the owners and staff have done for us,” Campbell said.

Community members gathered in their vehicles at the United Church of Bernardston and were led by police officers and firefighters down South Street as they honked their horns, waving and holding signs of written thanks to the restaurant staff and owners.

“I would have never thought this would have happened to them, having to close their business, but this is what COVID-19 has done to small business owners across the country,” Campbell said. “And seeing this happen to a 71-year successful business breaks my heart. I hope this will help them all know how much we appreciated everything they did for us customers.”

According to Louella “Lou” Atherton, of the Bernardston Historical Society, the restaurant was first established in May 1949 by Stanley Durmas. At the time, Atherton was 14 and she worked the 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift on weekends. Atherton said Durmas’ godson, Charles Skiathitis, later took over ownership, followed by his son Paul. Mark and Linda Snow, who met at the restaurant, were employees when they bought it from Paul roughly 20 years ago.

Mark Snow’s mother, Kay Snow, joked that his early days at the restaurant kept him out of trouble in high school.

“Right from school, right to the top,” Kay Snow said of her son’s path at the Four Leaf Clover.

The Snows gathered in the parking lot with family and fellow employees — many of whom they said they consider family in their own right — as they watched the parade go by Wednesday. Mark and Linda’s son, Roy “PJ” Puffer, and others have been employees at the Four Leaf Clover for years, or even decades. Danny Perco has worked at the Four Leaf Clover for nearly 30 years, Linda Snow said, and Linda’s daughter, Ashley Sheperd, has worked there nearly 16 years.

A GoFundMe has been set up by Puffer’s husband, Christopher Puffer, who said in a note that the fundraiser was organized to help the restaurant’s employees who are about to lose their jobs. As of Dec. 31, 23 donors had contributed more than $1,700 toward a $20,000 goal. Contributions to the fundraiser can be made at bit.ly/2KwWE8M.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.


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