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The doors are closed at the Garden Home Marketplace but regular shoppers were there for a pre-closing ceremony

PMG PHOTOS: BILL GALLAGHER - Unwary shoppers were surprised at how loud the bell rang. It was originally located outside the Garden Home Methodist Church and was rung on November 11, 1918 to herald the end of World War One.The doors closed at the Garden Home Marketplace Saturday, Oct. 19, but the bell tolled for this neighborhood institution two weeks prior to the end.

The Thriftway supermarket, along with its bakery, butcher shop and delicatessen, looked like a ghost store with only empty shelves left standing that afternoon.

The post office, Wells Fargo bank, and Garden Home Growler beer bar have also been vacated. Only the liquor store was still doing business, but only on a day-to-day basis. There was nowhere near the number of cars you would usually see in the parking lot at the intersection of Garden Home Road and Southwest Oleson Road.

The plan to close the Thriftway store was announced in September. The other businesses that shut down were the collateral damage of that decision.

Mike Babbit, the general manger of the now-shuttered Thriftway in the Garden Home Marketplace, was afforded the honor of being the first to ring the 101-year-old bell that resides in the upper reaches of the clock tower.Two weeks earlier, on Saturday, Oct. 5, long-time customers and weekend shoppers gathered in the lobby of the Marketplace for an only-in-Garden-Home ceremony.

no captionHigh in the rafters of the lobby there's a bell which used to summon the faithful to services at Garden Home Methodist Church across the street. The church closed in 1994 and Colin Lamb agreed to reinforce the clock tower of the Marketplace so the bell could be installed.

It's a large bell and, as shoppers learned, it's quite loud. In fact, it was rung to announce the end of World War 1, just about 101 years ago.

Elaine Shreve, co chair of the Garden Home History Project, which has always had a presence at Thriftway, said, "We're ringing the bell to express our appreciation. We will miss Thriftway. I like to think that children of the community can come and ring the bell and know that it has been here in Garden Home all these years."

As for the future of the bell, Shreve said, "Colin Lamb knows it's on loan and it will stay here for now." Her group is hoping whoever the future tenant is will allow it to remain in the clock tower.

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