Altoona Loses Piece of History as Original Sugar Shack Closes Its Doors

ALTOONA, Iowa -- After 35 years, an Altoona staple will be closing its doors at its original location.

Tuesday marks the final day for Sugar Shack at its corner spot on Eighth Street Southeast and First Avenue South. The University of Iowa Community Credit Union plans to build a new branch where the diner currently sits.

Sugar Shack will reopen at a new location a few blocks away at the Pine Tree Plaza, West of Walmart. But for regulars like Steven Fuller, who's been eating at Sugar Shack since he was a kid, says it's hard to see the growth of Altoona taking away something so nostalgic.

“Progress sometimes has it's tolls and unfortunately Sugar Shack and some of the other businesses have had to move out,” Fuller said. “The Credit Union will probably be a nice addition to this corner, but I think there is other land they might have been able to buy.”

Owner Mark Poulos says it was only a matter of time considering the location of Sugar Shack and the growth the city of Altoona is currently seeing.

“I think there's some sadness that's moving off this corner, but like I said, it's just a part of the growing up of the city and things to come. It's for the betterment of the city. I hate to leave the corner, but it's a prime corner,” Poulos said.

Tuesday night Sugar Shack has one last “cruise night” with live music and classic cars filling the parking lot before they shut the doors on the original location for good.

“Serve up our last burgers, and tenderloins, and onion rings until the food runs out, and the ice cream runs out, and then we’ll be done,” Poulos said.

But Poulos guaranteed Channel 13 there would be more cruise nights to come at their new location set to open up in a few months.

“We already got permission from the city and Colby’s that owns the plaza down there. So they’ve assured us we can go ahead and keep with that tradition,” Poulos said.

The new location will stick with the 50’s diner theme with some new twists.

“The Sugar Shack it's been here. It's part of the history of Altoona,” Poulos said.

“I mean when you think about it, Adventureland, The Big Steer, Sugar Shack, we've all been here 34-35 years, to you know Adventureland was 1974 when they opened up, so we've all been here a long time and seen all the changes.”