The Dairy Barn in Lynbrook will be closing its door next week as the drive-thru convenience store on Hempstead Avenue becomes the latest location to be taken over by "The Barn."
It was more than 50 years ago that the Cosman Family opened up the first Dairy Barn on Long Island, and up until recently they operated 16 stores in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. But the Northport-based Dairy Barn has been gradually selling off its stores to The Barn.
"Eventually, every Dairy Barn will be closing. The company is exiting the business," Jon Hill, the daytime manager for the Lynbrook Dairy Barn told Patch Saturday.
In the 38 years that Hill, 54, has worked for Dairy Barn, he spent 25 of them at the Lynbrook location and lived in the village for eight years. His staff learned that the store, which has been in business since the mid-1960s, would be closing only a few days ago. It's final day will be Oct. 27.
Although a supervisor for The Barn stopped by the Lynbrook location to give the employees -- two full-time managers and six part-time workers -- the option to continue to work at the Hempstead Avenue store under the new company, Hill said that most will probably stay with Dairy Barn.
Unlike Dairy Barn, "The Barn is a non-union job, so pay-scale and benefits are completely different," Hill said. "If the deal was better for people coming over to The Barn, they would have considered staying."
The employees who stick with Dairy Barn will be relocated to the remaining stores across Long Island. Hill, who lives in Huntington, will most likely be sent to Farmingdale, where he'll bump out the day manager who has less seniority. Lynbrook's night shift manager, Jim, will probably be moved to the Merrick store.
But with the rapid pace that Dairy Barn has been selling off its stores, Hill said, "We don't even know how long we will be at those locations."
"People are devastated. We are not happy," Hill said, adding that he will not only miss his employees but also the customers he has come to know well from working at the Lynbrook store so long. "I loved coming to work and seeing everyone," he adds.
Since posting a countdown to the store's closing late Friday on the sign that usually lists sales on ice cream and other products, Hill and his crew have been hearing reaction from the community and their regular customers.
"They are in disbelief," he says. "The show of support and empathy from everyone has been positive reinforcement ... They don't want it to happen, but they are wishing us well."
To date, The Barn, which also describes itself as a family-owned business based on Long Island, has taken over the Dairy Barn stores in East Rockaway, Freeport, Hewlett, Kings Park, Farmingville, Babylon Village, Baldwin Harbor, Baldwin, Bellmore, Franklin Square, New Hyde Park, Bethpage, Center Moriches, East Northport, East Meadow, Massapequa, Shirley, St. James, Selden, Patchogue, Ronkonkoma, North Babylon, New Hyde Park, Lindenhurst and Kings Park.
On its Web site, The Barn makes it clear that its stores "were formerly operated as Dairy Barns, but are under new management."
Transitioning the stores from Dairy Barns to Barns has been happening very quickly. It some cases it happens in a single day and at most, the stores have been closed for about a week, according to a Barn employee at the New Hyde Park store.
The Barn actually carries more products than Dairy Barn did, he added. However, he said customers may notice that some of the names on the products, milk for example, will be different because they are being discontinued as Oaktree Dairy goes out of business. A list of products The Barn carries is attached above, under the PDF section.
A spokesman for The Barn responded to Patch's request for comment Sunday. Click here to see what the company rep said regarding the timeline for the takeover. Dairy Barn owners were not available for comment.
Are you upset Dairy Barn is closing? Will you patronize The Barn when it opens? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.