Spencer Remoquillo, Reporter
LANCASTER - Sue Barber can see much of her life and career play out along one block of West Main Street.
When Barber was a teenager, she served popcorn at the old Lyric Theater. Years later, she worked next door at Fairfield National Bank, where she spent the bulk of her career and her life, retiring after more than 30 years with the bank.
Barber, now in her 70s, is starting a new chapter, and it's in the same 100 block of West Main Street. This spring, Barber purchased the former Citi Bar building at 147 W. Main St. She never wanted to own a bar and she still doesn't, but the space felt right to her when she looked at it. Its size also lends itself to add an art gallery space in the back, which is what originally got Barber interested in Lancaster's commercial real estate.
"We are an art gallery first, then a bar," Barber said.
Barber is calling the bar space the O' Suzannah Taproom, with plans to serve up craft beers, high-end wine and specialty drinks.
"A bar plus a gallery is the upcoming thing to do," she said, adding that the style she is going for is classy.
The art gallery will be called the Susannah Gallery and will feature a variety of local artists and media. The gallery is not complete and likely won't be open until October, but Barber does plan to have the taproom open for ArtWalk on Friday. On Thursday, Barber was waiting for a certificate of occupancy. She expects to continue with a soft opening and some weekend hours until the grand opening of the gallery and taproom in October.
Barber had previously opened the Susannah Gallery with her late husband in 1989 at 153 W. Main St. She closed the business in 1995 and moved to San Diego, where she married George Barber, a former Anchor Hocking CEO. George Barber died last year, and Sue Barber said she knew it was time for her to move back to her hometown and restart her dream of owning an art gallery.
"He was the love of my life," she said about George Barber, adding he is probably watching over her newest business endeavor with support.
Sue Barber said the building was a perfect location and she has had friends and family help her redo the interior, which has new bathrooms and refurbished red oak flooring and bar. She was told the building was constructed in 1800, but she hasn't had it confirmed.
Her granddaughter, Whitney Hall, will be the manager of Barber Place, which is the name that will appear on the building's facade. The facade will be completely redone, with plans still needing approval from the Historic Lancaster Commission. The renderings of the building show a brick exterior with new windows and an awning that will extend over the sidewalk to allow for some outdoor seating.
"Come see us. We want everyone to come in and see what we've done with this building," Sue Barber said.