Business feature: Historic shopping plaza demolished

Courtesy photo Located on Seventh and Main streets, the Village Plaza was on one of the busiest intersections in town during it’s heyday, according to Duffy Sasser who operated the photo shop that fronted the plaza.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

All Duffy Sasser, 90, has to remember his first business are photographs and postcards.

The black and white photographs depict a bustling shopping plaza full of cars and people.

Built in 1945, the Village Plaza contained a newsstand and gift shop, a barber shop, a beauty shop, a real estate office, restaurants and a camera and photo developing store, according to Sasser, who operated the photo shop.

Located at Seventh and Main streets, it was the first shopping center in Clovis and was one of the busiest areas in the city, Sasser said.

Work crews started demolishing the nostalgic property last week.

Charlie Wade, one of the partners that bought the property, said there aren’t any plans to build on the property yet.

“We want to help get Main Street cleared up to where it’s attractive again. This sure will be a good start,” he said.

The city condemned the property earlier this year, according to city Building Safety Director Pete Wilt.

Sasser said because of all the memories he has of the plaza, it’s hard to see the property demolished.

“It’s hard to explain,” Sasser said. “It was such a huge success and it was my first (business) effort. I’d hate to see it go.”

For years the plaza served as a meeting point for Clovis residents, according to Sasser.

With a county courthouse and the high school also located on the intersection, it was one of the busiest businesses at the time, according to A.C. Bryant, who worked at the Silver Grill Restaurant located in the plaza when he returned from military service.

“Of course, at the time it was a meeting place and kind of the center of activity, it was surprising the traffic that it generates there,” he said. “Even the basketball court was across the street at one time at the basement of the high school. So a lot of activities went on in that area.”

Bryant, who would later own the Foxy Drive-In after it was moved from the Plaza to Seventh and Thornton streets, said the property still gives him pangs of nostalgia since it was the first place he worked after returning from the service.

“Like everybody else (who left the service) I just needed a job and a way to make a living,” he said.