ANDOVER — As the lunch rush cleared out, leaving tables topped with cups half-filled and plates wiped clean, Amy Guay sat at a table in her beloved diner, accepting a small slip of folded paper from a customer with his name and phone number written inside.
“So we can stay in touch,” he said on his way out.
It was a week of goodbyes for Amy and Bryan Guay, who have owned the Shawsheen Luncheonette for the past three decades. Their time will be up on Sunday at 2 p.m., as the doors will close on 30 years of memories and hundreds of relationships formed at the counter over piping hot plates of bacon and eggs and countless cups of coffee.
“We love this community. They’ve supported us for 30 years,” said Amy. “There isn’t a person here that didn’t come in today that didn’t hug me and say goodbye to my husband, and that didn’t have a story they could relate to.”
A place where customers are considered family, Amy said they have watched kids grow up, and as the years passed on, watched those peoples’ kids grow up.
From meeting best friends, to receiving news a wife was pregnant, the diner has become a place filled with unforgettable moments for many.
And for Amy and Bryan’s family, it has been their home.
Their two daughters took their high school prom pictures at the diner. Amy recalled the day the limo pulled up to the outside of the yellow building with the famous green sign, as her children and their dates filed inside to pose for photos.
“It’s actually amazing how you can touch people you don’t actually know,” said Bryan, as the couple recalled times they comforted patrons slumped at the counter on a bad day, sliding a hot plate of food in front of them to lighten their mood.
The couple sold the diner to new owners who will temporarily close the doors for major renovations. The diner will remain the Shawsheen Luncheonette, and Amy said she is hopeful the menu will stay the same.
With plans to sell their house in Bradford, as well as all of their belongings that won’t fit into their recently purchased RV, the couple will hit the road and travel around America — something they said they never had the chance to do.
And of course, Amy said they will hit other diners along the way.
Dedicating the past 30 years of their lives to the business has meant no vacations for Amy and Bryan, and now, they are taking some time to themselves.
“I think we’re both ready to take on something different,” said Bryan, who has worked at the diner for the past 38 years.
When he was 17 years old, Bryan got a job cleaning tables and waiting on customers at the Shawsheen Luncheonette. His sister, Kathy, who worked as a waitress at the time, scored him the job despite his mindset that he would not stick around for long.
To everyone’s surprise, when Bryan was 24 years old, he bought the diner.
Allison Lynch, who has worked as a waitress there for the last 13 years, will stay on board despite the changes in ownership. Lynch is among the 15 employees at the diner, most of whom will remain.
Though she spent her Thursday shift in tears over Amy and Bryan’s departure, Lynch was able to reflect on her favorite things about working under the duo’s leadership, who she said is now family to them.
“My favorite part about working here is the confidence I have in serving customers, knowing how much effort Bryan and Amy put into it,” she said. “I don’t think it’ll ever be the same. Nothing will ever be able to replace the original Shawsheen Luncheonette.”
Lynch expressed her gratitude for the customers who have dedicated years to the diner, as well as the new people she had the pleasure of meeting along the way.
Roland “Rollie” Boisvert, who owned the Shawsheen Luncheonette with his wife for 33 years before Amy and Bryan, passed away Sunday, June 23. Amy said they will attend Boisvert’s services Sunday, the same day they close out their time at the diner, officially marking the end of a historic era.