2019-03-09 / Front Page

County landmark set to close

Situation hints at bigger news

A southern Potter County bar and restaurant that recalls another era with its location and name, is set to close.

Owner Lucas Toomey announced in a social media post earlier this week that the Old Tannery Saloon in Costello would close for good next Saturday, March 16.

Toomey has sold his liquor license to a convenience store, believed to be Sheetz. There are no plans to continue to operate the business without the liquor license.

Recent liquor law reforms in Pennsylvania have made it lawful for convenience stores to sell several different types of alcohol and the corporate chains have been ramping up efforts to capitalize on the legislative change they have been clamoring about for years.

Observers believe that Sheetz has moved on from their plan to expand in Coudersport and the purchase of the liquor license lends credibility to the idea that the convenience store giant is moving on a plan to build on a larger lot on Route 6 West, below the Pvt. Edwin Tubbs Memorial Bridge.

Sheetz had contacted at least one other restaurant/bar in southern Potter County in an attempt to secure a liquor license before they reached a deal with the Old Tannery. That business said the Sheetz representative was offering “six figures” for the license. Dozens of patrons of the Old Tannery Saloon took to social media to voice their heartbreak and to share their fond memories of a business that loosely marks where what was once the world’s largest tannery, Costello Tannery, stood 140 years ago.

Over the years, the “Tannery” has earned somewhat of a cult following for its “rough around the edges” look, dive bar feel, good food and its colorful, authentic owners, Toomey and Brenda Siebert.

“Been going to the Tannery Saloon since the Glovers owned it in the 60’s,” one FaceBook user said. “My mother and I would come to watch basketball because they had a TV then and we didn’t. Will miss seeing the Tannery and I’m sure the guys that come to hunt and fish will miss it too.”

By late 1881, the tannery consumed some 32,000 cord of bark annually for a yearly output of 6,000,000 square feet of sole leather. With 275 employees, it had a monthly payroll of $10,000.

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