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Bea Coomer Beard was part of historic family business

Before the family business was sold it was featured in the paper with this headline, "Myrtle Coomer operates town's oldest business" - it is shared by Bea Beard's son Doug from his archives.

By Paul Barry Hayes

"The town just wouldn't be the same without them," one long-time customer said recently, referring to Myrtle Coomer and her two daughters, Bernice and Bea, the owners and operators of Coomer's Cafe. Myrtle Coomer opened the doors to Coomer's Cafe for the first time on June 25, 1943, over 38 years ago, making the restaurant the oldest business onthe square that has been operated by the same people.

Her two daughters, Bernice Murphy and Bea Beard, started in the restaurant with her, going to school and helping out before and after classes. Bea claims to have started working when she was so little that she wasn't tall enough to see over the counter, but Mrs. Coomer says that she was a little bigger than that. Anyway, both daughters have grown up, gotten married and raised families while all the time continuing to operate the restaurant.

When the restaurant opened, Mrs. Coomer said that they were serving basically the same type of food they are today - just old home cooked meals and the biggest difference between then and now are the prices. "When we started, our roast beef sandwiches were 35 cents, our plate lunches were 40 cents with the drink included, and drinks were a nickel" Bernice said. "I remember when we had to raise the price of drinks to six cents, and everybody complained, saying that they were going to quit buying them. Now, they pay 40 cents for a drink and don't say a thing."

To stay in business almost four decades signifies that you nave been doing something right, and Mrs. Coomer says

that she attributes their succes in the restaurant business to "just having good food at reasonable prices, and having good help," but to many people Coomer's Cafe is more than that.

To many people, the atmosphere that you find in the restaurant plays as an important role as the food that is served, and the atmosphere one finds in Coomer's would be hard to duplicate anywhere else. For years, Coomer's has been the place that businessmen, and women, workers, and loafers gather in the cafe to hear the latest news and gossip.

Probably more world problems have been solved, more solutions to local and national crises, and more domestic matters have been hashed about than any other place in town! If you want to know anything, Coomer's has always been the place to go and find it out. And, there's not much doubt that Coomer's Cafe will continue to be the place to go on the Square every morning for several more years. Mrs. Coomer estimates thal sne might have missed a total of six months of work in her 38 years, and is still going strong. And, if were to ever falter, they'll still be Bernice and Bea to carry on. The customer that said the square wouldn't be the same without Coomer's Cafe is absolutely right. There's no way it could be.

This story was posted on 2022-03-04 17:13:57
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Saying goodbye to Bea Beard

2022-03-04 - Columbia, KY - Photo by Linda Waggener.
Beautiful spring-like March 4, 2022. Normal busyness of a Friday afternoon in downtown Columbia. The Baptist Church noonday chimes are playing All is Well With My Soul. And in the Methodist Church a block away, family and friends prepare to say goodbye to Beatrice Coomer Beard.

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