BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Woolworth’s building is not closing. The iconic “Happy Days”-style soda fountain is not shutting down.
Let’s get those false rumors about the 19th Street landmark out of the way first.
This much is true: The owners of Moneywise, the Bakersfield financial advising firm, are in the process of purchasing the old five-and-dime, built in 1949. Owners Mark and Linda Sheffield, who bought the 40,000-square-foot building in 1994, are moving on to other pursuits.
The antique mall is closing and many vendors have indicated they will move on to other antique stores in the immediate area.
Escrow is expected to close in November. The purchase price has not been disclosed.
Moneywise Guys Dave Anderson and Sherod Waite are planning major renovations — most of which they weren’t prepared to discuss on Tuesday. But one thing that will not change is the soda foundation — they expect to find an operator who will maintain the quality and flavor of the long-cherished burger-and-fries venue. The luncheonette will probably remain untouched so it can keep its grandfathered-in code variances.
Anderson and Waite don’t expect the new Woolworth’s to open for as much as two years, They will operate their financial advice firm from the building’s second floor and access that part of the building from Woolworth’s K Street entrance, .
The building’s exterior will still have the Woolworth’s signage but somewhere it might say Moneywise Guys at Woolworth’s or something similar.
Moneywise will remain at its present Stockdale Highway location until Woolworth’s is ready, so it’ll be quite a while. The lease expires in February 2022 but they’ll be allowed to remain beyond that.
The building survived the 1952 earthquake intact. Another building was in that location in the 1920s and it was torn down and a new one built in 1949. The current Woolworth’s store opened in 1950 and closed in 1994.