If you were to go back into the 1900s and take a walk down Colo’s main street, you would find a very prosperous town. During this time there were a variety of businesses — two hotels, two banks, a post office, three grocery stores, two hardware stores, lumber sheds and blacksmiths. Three different restaurants were also available for the times you weren’t in the mood to cook.
The first building built in Colo was a train depot, in 1864. Several brick buildings were constructed after that date, including the one on the corner of Fourth and Main. This particular building was built in 1912 and became the Farmers Saving Bank; in the 1930s, the bank became Brouhards Pharmacy and Cafe.
What once was the bank’s lobby now was filled with ice cream tables and matching wire-backed chairs.
According to the "Colo History Book," over the next 40 years this historical building housed several different businesses. Ice cream tables gave way to gift items, food preparation was taken over by a flower business and the flowers moved over for antiques.
Currently the 101-year-old building is a gathering place for anyone who would like a cold drink. It has been a bar for several years now. As the years have gone by, new owners have come and gone, along with new names for the small-town bar.
On May 1, the bar known as Morgan’s officially reopened as TJ’s Hideaway. The new owners, John and Tracey Abate, who are from State Center, took on this bar with a lot of encouragement from friends. "We decided to take a chance," said Tracey. "We heard Morgan’s was going to be closing and we didn’t want to see the town without this long-established place."
When asked if any improvements have been made, Tracey replied, "We rearranged a few things, installed an ice machine and new beer cooler. We also added a 60-inch TV, so we are ready for NASCAR and football season." She continued, "We also have picnic tables with umbrellas on the patio and hope to add a grill soon so we can have burger nights a couple of times a month."
TJ’s is open seven days a week, Monday-Thursday, from 3-11 p.m.; Fridays 2 p.m.-2 a.m. and on Saturday and Sunday they open at noon. If you’re feeling hungry during any of these times, they serve Pasquales Pizza and Pub Burgers.
Tracey and John have lived in State Center for nine years and have owned and run the bar located there known as The Road Hog. Would any successful traditions from the Road Hog transfer to TJ’s? "As a matter of fact, we have Karaoke Saturday, June 1 and on June 8, the Lost Cause Motorcycle Group’s Fun Run will end in Colo at TJ’s. We are expecting a lot of motorcycles and will be serving a pork plate for $5. We will also be having a street dance for the Colo Crossroads Festival in July," continued Tracey, "the band, JJ Ace, will be performing."
Unfortunately, as times have changed and the automobile became an important part of our lives, small- town main streets and businesses have become few and far between. Without people like Tracey and John taking a chance, small-town business would fade away.