Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sani-Freeze, better known as "The Flush"

I was thinking yesterday about how much I missed Sani-Freeze in Auburn.  "The Flush", as it was affectionately (and humorously) known by many, used to be located on Glenn Avenue across from the Baptist church downtown.

For those who did not have the joy of knowing Sani-Freeze, it was a small walk-up eatery where you could select from a variety of foods.  Foot-long hotdogs were the hands-down favorite (especially when added their secret recipe chili) except when you were wanting ice cream.  The Flush had it all, from upside-down banana splits to my favorite - the sundae that came in a cup with goopy and warm chocolate pooled in the bottom.

Since it was located only two blocks from campus, one could easily get there after an Auburn football victory and the traditional rolling of Toomers Corner.  Of course, it was a fun tradition to go to Sani-Freeze even if Auburn didn't win. When I was a kid (and even older), Mom and Dad would sometimes go there to treat the family with a quick lunch or dinner.

Unfortunately, Sani-Freeze closed when the land it sat on was sold to build an AmSouth bank branch.  And even more sad was that AmSouth location didn't last and that branch closed when AmSouth merged with Regions.  Sani-Freeze was sacrificed for nothing.

For a nice recollection of Sani-Freeze, check out this piece by Eric Kammerud published in The Auburn Plainsman July 17, 1997.

Please share your memories in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. Just happened to catch this blog. While I agree that The Flush was a great landmark at Auburn, let me fill you in on the rest of the story.
    The Sani-freeze was a business started by Benny Hunt around 1960. Before that it was known as the Doll House - a sandwich shop started in 1939 by my grandparents. My grandfather built the building and they opened the restaurant which served home made cakes and pies and sandwiches to college students and residents. Three years later the restaurant was sold to Archie McKey who ran it until 1960 when it was sold to Benny Hunt. My father inherited the building in 1960.
    In 1988 Benny transferred the business to his son who continued to run until around 2000.
    In 1994 AmSouth Bank approached my father about buying three lots which included the Sani-freeze. My father did not sell but agreed to lease the site for 20 years. After the lease was signed, my father sought a site to move the building to another lot. In the process he discovered that the building was infested with termites and could not be moved. The rent on the building to the Hunts was $275 per month. The rent offered by AmSouth was 15 times that much. There was simply no way to move the existing building and to build another one would have been too costly for the rent needed to keep the Sani-freeze going. Mr. Hunt's son moved the business to Dean Road and it stayed in business another six years. But it was never as successful as it was at the original site.
    As you mentioned, Regions bought out AmSouth Bank and continued to rent the building for three years until a buyout of the lease could be arranged. The building is now leased to an office equipment business. There is a picture of the Flush hanging at the entrance to this business and people still come by to tell stories of their days when it was The Flush. The Flush was not sacrificed for nothing. It would have eventually disappeared with or without AmSouth Bank. When the Alabama legislature removed the ban on alcohol within the City Limits of Auburn, the entire makeup of downtown Auburn changed forever. Gone also are The Tiger Theater, The War Eagle Theater, Kopper Kettle, Toomer's Drugs, Lipscombs Drugs, and most other businesses that made Auburn unique. They have been replaced mostly by bars and restaurants. I think they call it progress. I call it a shame.

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