A change at Corner News

Longtime owner of the Corner News, Ernie Altier, has retired after 32 years and has sold the restaurant to Lori Finck.

NEW LEXINGTON – The Corner News at the intersection of Main and Brown Streets has undergone a change in ownership. The breakfast and lunch site now belongs to Lori Finck, who purchased the business from Ernie Altier.

Lori took over the reins at the Corner News in early April. A few new items are being sprinkled into the menu. There are a few new knick-knacks on the shelves, but the regular customers can still be found enjoying their favorite lunches of the week. Angie is still working there, and the atmosphere is as comfortable as the food is good. The only thing missing is Ernie.

For 32 years, Ernie greeted her customers like family, and fed us the same way. Home-cooked food served at good prices was the formula to bring back customers, but Ernie’s charm made the whole deal work. Corner News is the epitome of the “where everybody knows your name” theme song from a long-ago TV show.

Perry County is a world away from Ernie’s birthplace in South Korea. That part of her history would have made for the great interview she graciously declined to give.

“I’m happy, but I’m sad,” is how she responded when I brought up the idea. “But no interview.” Too much fuss would have brought a better chance for tears than rain in April so I conceded. I couldn’t chance crying over my Wednesday chicken fried rice and egg roll.

I told Ernie that she was an important thread that makes up the fabric of our community. When a piece of that fabric becomes a loose string that’s pulled, it can never be replaced.

That’s who you are, Ernie. You’re that thread that tied us together over lunch and breakfast. It could be a judge, a deputy, a village employee, a probation officer, the sheriff, a secretary, a chamber of commerce director, or a retired teacher disguised as a reporter. You made the Corner News an extension of where we have chosen to call home.

Congratulations are in order, and so is a huge thank you from all your friends and customers. The concept of you enjoying a well-earned retirement certainly outweighs the selfish urge to keep you in the kitchen at Corner News.

The standard of worth in this nation has always been the gumption to pull your own weight when it comes to working for a living. You certainly did that. Maybe it’s so painful to see you leave the Corner News because you pulled that weight with the strings attached to so many Perry County hearts, including mine.

All the best!

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