The South 40 started when I woke up crazed one morning long ago with the notion that my beloved hometown needed a place to buy a good book and some pretty clothes. I was young, indomitable and most of all a naturally bossy person in need of another outlet. I had been cutting my business teeth on the Montgomery Ward Store, but was quickly tiring of tires. I told my teacher husband, Arnie, thinking he would talk some sense into me, but he was even crazier! He added a restaurant to the basement! I was looking for books and clothes and he was looking for a good meal for himself and the kids…hmmm.
To our regret, the Book Loft and The Homestead Clothing Store went by the wayside, after 30 years, but Arnie still needs to eat so the South 40 remains a fixture in Sidney. We’ve fed statesmen and famous entertainers, but our most important guests have been our friends and neighbors. People like Ann and Warren Fisher, who have dined here regularly since we opened.
We owe our years of success to wonderful employees like our bookkeeper, Merna Brown. She has been with the South 40 from the start, and now claims I’m holding her captive. Nedra Madison has been with us longer than she’ll let me put in writing. The list is long and many of our favorites have moved on, but we still miss them and still consider them a part of our South 40 family.
We’ve taken pride in maintaining our look over the years. We like to think it provides a feeling of ‘coming home’ to our customers far and wide. And as a bonus, it makes us eligible to apply for the National Register of Historic Places in just a few years. When we are accepted I’m going to throw a parade and drinks will be half off—well maybe.