Owner cites large franchised companies for loss of business
Anybody craving a feed of Hiscock’s Wedge Fries will have to act quickly. The iconic Grand Falls-Windsor establishment is closing its doors this weekend, and will serve its last order of famous wedge fries this Saturday night.
Hiscock’s Wedge Fries has been a cornerstone in Grand Falls-Windsor since it opened its doors in 1960. An archetypal mom-and-pop establishment, the locally owned restaurant is famous undoubtedly across the province, and arguably further, for the tasty potato treat it is named after.
Hiscock’s owner Marilyn Shallow hands longtime customer Gerald Antle his last order of Hiscock’s famous wedge fries. Shallow will be closing the restaurant this weekend, citing loss off business to competition as the main reason.
— Photo by Andrea Gunn/The Advertiser
Hiscock’s Wedge Fries posted on its official Facebook page Monday to tell fans and followers that it will close up shop April 26 after serving the community for 54 years.
“Due to over crowding Cromer Avenue and area with franchises and lack of customers we will be stepping out of the dog eat dog world,” the post read. “Thank you so very much to all of our local customers.”
The post was followed by many concerned fans of the establishment expressing their disappointment with the news.
“How could our town give up on you, you were my favorite place,” one poster said in response.
“This is absolutely ridiculous. Our town has had Hiscocks for years no matter what businesses were brought here….Really wish this wasn't true!” read another.
As sad as Hiscock’s fans are to see them go, no one is as disappointed as current owner Marilyn Shallow. The daughter of Hiscock’s founders Wallace and Flo Hiscock, Shallow has been working at the restaurant since she “could stand on the Coke boxes and reach the counter,” as she puts it.
“By the time I was 14 I was full time,” she said. “There was seven of us, and we all took turns here working growing up. Eventually I was the only one left who wanted to take the business.”
Just last spring, Hiscock’s moved from its historic location on Main Street its current location in the Shalaps Centre on 7 Church Road.
Shallow said she thought the move to the downtown area, near pubs and the Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium, would revive their business, but it wasn’t enough to keep up.
“There’s just too much competition. There’s too many places open,” she said. “I think that’s the biggest reason.”
The decision to close Hiscock’s didn’t come easy for Shallow. She said she’s saddened to see the restaurant’s decades-long history in the Grand Falls-Windsor come to an end.
“There’s lots of memories over 54 years, lots of them. We’ve made a lot of friends,” Shallow said.
Shallow said some of her best memories are from when she was working in the restaurant with her parents, especially her mother.
“Mom was a very good people person. Everybody loved her. She had a great personality and she could talk to anybody,” Shallow reminisced.
One of the things Shallow said she always loved about her job is making her customers happy through her food, and seeing the look of delight on their faces when they try it for the first time.
“In the summertime you’d meet people from all over the world who had heard about us from friends and family,” said Shallow. “As soon as they ate the wedge fries they were always amazed at how good they tasted.”
Over the years customers at Hiscock’s have included international visitors, premiers and ministers. The restaurant even catered to rock stars during Salmon Festival.
But above everything else, there’s one thing Shallow said she will miss the most about working at her family’s restaurant.
“My good, loyal customers,” she said. “I’m going to be heartbroken that I can’t feed them anymore.”
Though Hiscock’s Wedge Fries will no longer serve customers fresh-from-the-fryer wedge fries, onion rings, and other home-cooked delicacies, Shallow said she is entertaining the idea of selling frozen wedge fries in supermarkets — a business venture Hiscock’s owner had attempted once before.
“There are a lot of stores requesting our frozen wedge fries, but we hadn’t gotten around to it yet, I was just putting it on hold. But we might go back to selling the frozen fries in the supermarket,” Shallow said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”