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Like clockwork for nearly 28 years, Cowan Mayor Joyce Brown has faithfully been at her 203 Sycamore St. family business — Brown’s Pool Room — but that’s about to change.
Brown and her husband, William, who works for Tepro Inc. in the Franklin County Industrial Park, have sold the business to partners Liza Moore and Dan Rattigan who reside in Winchester.
The sale closing date was Feb. 14, and Moore and Rattigan took over on Feb. 17.
However, Brown has stayed on to show the new business partners how she has handled operations to make the transition go more smoothly for the new owners.
Moore, who hails from San Rafel, Calif., came to the area in 1993 while Rattigan, from Dexter, Maine, followed a similar southern trek through an Air Force career that placed him in Huntsville, Ala., where he extended his ties to Lincoln County before eventually moving to Winchester.
For Brown, selling her business and changing her way of life from being at the Pool Room’s helm is welcomed with a tinge of sadness.
“It’s kind of bitter-sweet,” she said. “I think it’s a good thing, but the people here are like a family.”
She compared the Pool Room’s atmosphere to that of the 1980s television situation comedy, Cheers, where the patrons and the bar personnel were extremely close-knit.
Brown said not being there in the same capacity from the business side of the Pool Room’s bar will be different, but as a Cowan enterprise, she will be frequently there supporting her successors.
“I’ll definitely be in here,” she said. “I also encourage everyone to stop in and give Dan and Liza a chance.”
As the community’s chief political figure, Mayor Brown went a step further.
“And Cowan needs the sales tax,” she said, showcasing an ever-present focus on the city’s overall financial picture.
Rattigan and Moore said they are glad to be taking over an operation that dates back to the mid 1950s when William Brown’s parents had opened the establishment, which William and Joyce took over in 1987.
Rattigan said he and Moore were looking to buy a restaurant-type business, and what they were searching for didn’t quite pan out. He added that they also frequented the Pool Room, and when it became available, they saw the most in what could lie ahead and moved forward with the purchase.
“We are very excited about this opportunity, and after searching for what we wanted, we found the absolute perfect fit for us,” Rattigan said. “And we’re not changing a thing — the name, the phone number, the food — it’s all going to be the same.”
He said the establishment has a stellar reputation for outstanding food and is a Cowan landmark. He said keeping up that historic tradition is paramount.
Moore said since she’s been in the area, she’s always liked the Pool Room and frequented the establishment.
“There were a lot of places we could go, but this is where we’d come,” she said, adding that their presence there has become like an extended family. “I’ve known Joyce for years.”
While Moore and Rattigan are, so to speak, starting new careers, Brown is continuing in Cowan’s political circles, which she said, as a part-time mayor, is not extremely demanding. However, she said she will have more time on her hands to devote to the community’s causes.
Hobbies have been out of the question.
“I don’t have a hobby,” she said, jokingly. “All I’ve done is work.”
And her work at the Pool Room will continue at least briefly while she introduces Moore and Rattigan to the finer details of the establishment’s operations.
After that, the immediate game plan is simple.
“I’ll have to do something, but for now, I just want to stay home awhile,” she said, adding that the break is welcome. “I’ve been working all my life.”