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(Mary Catherine Brooks/The Wyoming County Report)

Ron Altizer was among the very first customers of Hardee's Restaurant when it opened nearly three decades ago in Oceana and was among the final customers Monday. Also pictured are manager Amanda Toler, center, and district manager Monica Harvey. Hardee's also closed restaurants in Barboursville and Gilbert. Area veterans performed "Taps" to commemorate the restaurant's final day Monday.

Once a popular restaurant and meeting location, Hardee's Restaurant closed its doors last week in Oceana.

On Monday, the final day, drive-thru traffic was steady and there were more cars on the parking lot than there had been in a while.

Local veterans, who've met in the restaurant for years, were served free breakfast one last time.

At 11:30 a.m., the veterans performed “Taps” to commemorate the restaurant's final day.

The staff has always been good to the veterans, Ron Altizer emphasized.

Altizer was one of the restaurant's first customers nearly three decades ago and one of the last on Monday.

It was an emotional day as well for Monica Harvey, district manager.

Harvey began her career as a cashier at the Oceana location, then moved up to Oceana's general manager. She became the district manager four years ago.

Harvey said the 2015 minimum wage increase made it difficult to operate the business, while trying to hold menu prices down and continue to serve the highest quality products in the low-performing locations.

The coal industry slump also hurt the restaurant's business, she said. And while the area is recovering, the restaurant sales just weren't rebounding fast enough to save the Oceana location.

Hardee's Restaurants were also closed in Barboursville and Gilbert this month.

The eight employees, a mix of full-time and part-time, were all offered jobs in other locations. However, with the closest locations in Man and Sophia, Harvey said the travel time would make it difficult for them.

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