Sandy's Geneseo, Illinois

Sandy's Geneseo, Illinois

Geneseo Sandy's was an instant success from the time that it opened on March 1st, 1972. This Sandy's had three advantages. First, it was located in the farm town of Geneseo, Illinois which is a prosperous town of 6,500 people and was one of the first fast food restaurants in the city which already had a classic Frostop Root Beer stand. Second, it was located next to Interstate 80 and was visible from the interstate. It was the obvious choice for hungry travelers as they crossed the country. Third, the excellent manager was the first woman manager for the company (see top picture) and had already managed the Sandy's locations in Elmhurst, Illinois and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In the early years of fast food, it was a major accomplishment for a woman to become a manager and she has much to be proud of.

Not clearly visible in the above picture is the marque which reads; Pepsi Cola (! not Coke as other locations), root beer, orange, coffee 10, milk 10, hot chocolate (15), milk shakes {chocolate, strawberry, vanilla} 15, turnovers {apple or cherry} 20. The right side of the marque is a picture of the big scot and the caption reads "big scot's secret? Sandy's secret sauce. super."

This Sandy's changed to Hardees and remains one to this day at the same location on Route 82 at the corner lot of the area's first Wal-Mart.

The pictures and ads are from the Geneseo Public Library archives Geneseo Republic section. Below, you can see the morphing together of Sandy's. The picture on the top is an ad that ran on October 19th, 1972. The one on the bottom is from the Fort Dodge Sandy's and is provided by Sandy's Super-fan Chris Bryant Gerdes.

One can see the morphing together in different stages when comparing the ads. The Geneseo ad reads around the rim "swing down to Sandy's/Sandy's puts the fun into eating out" and instead of "new charco-broiled deluxe huskee" it reads "new deluxe sandee". In the fine print, instead of "hardee lovers start here, it reads sandee lovers start here". Also notice hard"ee" and sand"ee" and instead of charco-broiled chopped beefsteak it reads "not just meat but chopped beefsteak".

On October 19th, 1972, it appears that Sandy's and Hardees were following through on their agreement to merge together but remain seperate companies. The ad itself is for Hardees trademark Huskee burger and Sandy's is remaining its own identity, still not charco-broiling the bugers and calling the burger the Deluxe Sandee. "Sandy's puts the fun into eating out" was Sandy's last logo. This theme was the direction Sandy's was taking until the corporate buy-out by Hardees.

On Thursday April 12th, 1973, the following ad appeared in the Geneseo Republic. This roughly pieced together ad shows the near end of the story of Sandy's. Although some Sandy's held out until 1976 or 1977 before switching to Hardees or something else, around this time in 1973, 90% of the Sandy's switched to Hardees. If you notice in the ad, the building is an image of the classic Sandy's drive-in from the 1960's. The sign however is an early 1970's prototype Sandy's sign. It appears that Hardees was going ahead showing the modern signs which had just been released yet trying to associate themselves with the classic drive-in building!

In this amazing picture, On May 1st, 1973, the Sandy's sign is taken down and the new Hardees sign is being put up. The sign itself is a rare one. Geneseo Sandy's was one of the last Sandy's locations to open. It remained Sandy's for thirteen months. The sign itself is the new prototype Sandy's sign with the Scottish girl's head which lets us see what all Sandy's would have looked like if they would have opened in the early 1970s. An example of what the prototype buildings looked like can be found on the main page by clicking on the classic Sandy's building and scrolling down or by clicking here . The new prototype stores were immediately adopted by Hardees and are generally associated with Hardees even though they are a Sandy's design!

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Finally, Hardees had arrived. Sandy's was gone and all that remained were great memories of one of the greatest drive-ins of all time.