Lit'l Store to close: Sherman couple leaves the grill after more than 30 years
For 33 years, the neighborhood at the corner of Rusk and Center streets in Sherman has shared meals, laughter and the stories of their lives with Delene and Wayne Burroughs at the Lit'l Store.
Saturday, the Burroughs will leave their posts behind the grill and the register for the last time.
Though the last few years have been rough with the COVID-19 shutdowns and the highway construction, those are not the reasons for the move.
"It is just time to go," Wayne Burroughs said this week. "We're gonna retire. It's just something that has to be done."
Now 69 and 67, the pair were 35 and 33 when they first opened the store.
Wayne Burroughs said they had been thinking about retiring for a while, and one day, he was talking about it with some of his customers.
"And a man standing here heard," Burroughs explained. "He happened to be a banker investor person and was interested in it."
That man is Luke Scheibmeir who is buying the business with the hopes of selling it to someone who will want to carry on its legacy of feeling both the stomachs and the hearts of the local community.
Scheibmeir recently retired from banking and is has a real estate license. He likes to buy things and then sell them to others to help get their visions for the future off the ground.
He also said he happened upon the store by coincidence.
"I was dropping my kids off at St. Mary's School," he said.
While in the neighborhood, he remembered a burger he had once a long time ago.
"I was a little kid when I last went there," he recalled. "I didn't even really remember where it was. I just remembered this delicious hamburger and some candy."
Going into the store, he learned the owners were talking about selling. He eventually made an offer.
"We went back and forth and eventually I just agreed to what they wanted," said Scheibmeir who hopes whoever buys it from him decides to continue to selling hamburgers because there is a ready-made market for it.
"That phone number has been ringing for 30 years for burgers .Turn key that first day, you can sell hamburgers," he said.
How it started
"When this little old building was first here, (Wayne) had to do all of the work on it himself," Delene Burroughs said. "He had to get it cleaned up and fixed up and really started everything from scratch."
Wayne Burroughs added that they had expanded the building twice in 33 years of operation. He said they started with hamburgers. But she reminded him that before there were the burgers, there were hot dogs.
Then came the $1 burgers which put the place on the map. Over the years, the price would go up and the menu options increased to a few dinners and some local favorites like burritos. They also sold cigarettes, lottery tickets and beer.
But, the burgers were the mainstay.
Wayne Burroughs said the companies that were here then — but are long gone now— started ringing them up with delivery orders. There were days when that small grill turned out 1,000 burgers a day, and that was not unusual. At one time. they had up to 10 employees.
Back then, the Burroughs worked six days a week at the store.
"You have to be dedicated to it and determined," Delene Burroughs said of what it took to make a success of their little place.
That dedication, she said, has allowed her to do the job all of these years without ever being bored or feeling like she didn't want to get up and go in unless she just happened to be sick.
"And then you had to go in anyway because it was your business," she said.
Wayne Burroughs added that you also have to be dedicated to doing it the way you want to do it. They sold what they want, the way they wanted. That meant resisting the change from cash to debit cards in recent years. He simply put in an ATM and said customers never seemed to mind either using the machine or coming back with cash.
Over the years, the couple watched as their original moms and dads returned as grandmas and grandpas with their grand babies and now-adult children.
The Burroughs sold candy, soda and burgers to them all.
"When you have worked someplace for 30 years, it is hard to let go," Delene Burroughs said.
When the pair talked about what they are going to do with their retirement, they said they really don't know what it's going to feel like next Tuesday when they don't have the store to go to.
The longest time they spent not flipping burgers was about a decade ago when a grease fire caused them to close for a bit and brought about the bigger space that is currently being used. Other than that, one of the Burroughs has been in the store at least five days a week for three decades.
While they fed a lot of people during that time, Wayne Burroughs said they also made a lot of friends. He really liked it when the costumers would put in an order and then take a seat over at the tables and talk about life. Wayne Burroughs joined in those conversations and all of the laughter that followed.
He said he is going to miss that.
Delene Burroughs said she is sure is probably going to miss "everything" about the store for a while, but the Burroughs have some home projects they want to get finished. Then, they want to do some traveling.
One thing she knows they will continue to do is eat hamburgers, and they are looking forward to coming back to the store to trying what the next owner has cooking.