Archive for Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Opry owner plans to sell nightspot

Eudora couple hope to buy business

February 26, 2003

Glen Smith, whose downtown Tonganoxie nightspot often is filled to the brim on Saturday nights, is retiring.

But to the delight of regular patrons of Glen's Opry, Smith hopes to sell his entertainment center at Fourth and Main streets to a Eudora couple.

"The Lord has been awfully good to me out there," the 64-year-old Smith said.

And although he's hopeful he will sell the opry to Terry and Annie Dunavin, Smith said he'll help with the transition.

"It's like adopting your child out," he said. "You just hope people take care of it. You wouldn't just let your kid go away."

The prospect that the opry, known for palm trees that once sat on its west side, would close was upsetting to many members of his regular Saturday night crowd, Smith said. Some of them formed a prayer chain to keep the opry, which has a 300-person capacity, from closing.

"They have some of the nicest people out there you ever hope to meet," Smith said about his audiences.

He emphasized that it wasn't finances that prompted him to leave the business. He retired from his job as a heavy-equipment operator in early February.

"I'm not in trouble," he said. "I just want to retire."

The Dunavins, who emphasized that their purchase of the business is not final, said they have dreamed about owning an opry for years.

"Annie is a singer and has performed at opries throughout the Midwest," Terry Dunavin said.

Several times a year, she sang at Glen's.

"It was one of our favorite opries," Terry Dunavin said. "And we had always talked about opening our own."

But they didn't want to compete with Smith.

Dunavin said he accompanies his wife, who is a planning assistant at Del Monte in Lawrence, to all of her performances.

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