Malt shop reopens to delight of workers, customersPublished 12:03am Monday, July 18, 2011
NATCHEZ — Annette Johnson said she doesn’t mind working in a cave.
Johnson, 48, leaned into one of the two remaining windows at the Malt Shop Sunday. After a car crashed into the building Thursday night, destroying its exterior and damaging the front interior, the rest of the windows are boarded up.
“It’s a little confusing, but you have to do what you have to do,” said Johnson, who’s worked at the shop for 30 years. “You can’t see anybody walking up, and it makes you feel like you’re kind of in a cave. You have to sit at the windows to see people.”
The Malt Shop re-opened Saturday, not even 48 hours after the Cadillac flew through its front.
“Everything used to be convenient up here,” she said gesturing to the front of the restaurant. “Now you have to travel back to the cooler. You have to get used to finding everything.”
It may take a little longer than it usually does, but Johnson said the Malt Shop is serving everything it did before the crash.
“The customers have been wonderful,” she said. “Everyone is concerned, and that’s how it’s supposed to be.
“At a time like this everyone should pull together.”
Hopefully, the rest of the windows should be replaced by Wednesday, Johnson said.
The phone jack, the slushie machine and the fountain — where all of the flavors and preserves are kept — must also be replaced, she said. And though it’s not needed now, a new heater will need to be installed for the winter.
More than anything, Johnson said, she couldn’t say enough about how thankful she is that no one was hurt in the crash.
“When you work at a place a long time, you grow to love the people you work with,” she said. “I’ve lost people in my life, mostly family, but I couldn’t have handled losing someone here. I don’t think I would’ve come back.”
The ladies she works with in the Malt Shop are her family, Johnson said.
“You don’t have to birth someone to love someone and say, ‘That’s my child,’” she said.
Working at the Malt Shop may be a little inconvenient at the time, Johnson said, but that’s not something she’s worried about.
“Life itself is a challenge,” she said. “It’s what you do when it hits you, what you do afterward (that matters).
“You just have to pick up and keep on.”