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Shaffer’s family keeps store open; ‘mayor’s’ seat on town board filled

Despite the death of store co-owner and ‘town mayor’ Brent Shaffer late last month, the New Amsterdam grocery will continue on, offering its traditional tenderloin sandwich on Wednesdays, mystery plate-lunch on Fridays, New Amsterdam steak (bologna) sandwiches, Sunday morning biscuits and gravy, and everything else residents of the small town and others have come to expect from the store.
‘Our hours are the same, the food is the same, everything is pretty much the same as it used to be, except for that Dad’s not there,’ said Shaffer’s daughter, JoAnna Barks. ‘I think he would have wanted us to go on, and that’s what we’re doing.’
Shaffer died April 21, two days after the popular Remembrance Day festival, another New Amsterdam tradition that will continue for at least one more year.
‘Mom and Dad paid for everything,’ Barks said. ‘Us kids chipped in and helped, but they got things set up and paid for advertising and electric fixtures for the booths.
‘The store itself doesn’t make much that day with all of the booths outside,’ she said, ‘and because the festival is on the town streets, we can’t really charge anyone to set-up space. They just asked if someone did really well that day to maybe help out, but they didn’t ask for much.’
The festival started, as Barks puts it, as a way for ‘boys to play with their tractors’ in a parade that has since grown to include a multitude of booths selling food or knick-knacks, a wild west show and, new this year, a youth fishing tournament.
New Amsterdam General Store is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.
As for Shaffer’s seat on the town council, Howard Phipps will hold the position of interim president until the next town board election. Shaffer’s widow, Faye Shaffer, will continue on as clerk-treasurer.