Hundreds of People Line Up for The Coffee Pot’s Last Day 

It was a sandwich shop like no other. The Coffee Pot in Bangor closed Thursday, ending a business that’s been a part of town since 1930. Its owner, Skip Rist, is retiring.As always, they would keep their doors open Thursday only until they sold out of sandwiches. Hundreds upon hundreds of people came, lining up hours before they opened.Sarah Komuniecki and Photojournalist Mark Rediker bring us a tribute to The Coffee Pot, in the words of some of its friends.”I used to live in Bangor, always had a Coffee Pot,” says Eric Stover, of Orland.”We’re from California. I always tell my friends, I’m going to Maine and they say ‘Why?’ I say, ‘Well, I’m going for Coffee Pots,’ and then I’m like, ‘Oh and family, so…'” says Chelsey Berg, and laughs.”All the departments at the hospital want Coffee Pots, and I basically volunteer every Thursday to come and get them,” says Stan Dunton. “But this order’s bigger than usual. About 200 sandwiches.” “Do you think you’re getting out of here with 200 sandwiches?” we ask. “No, no he’s not getting out of here with 200 sandwiches, no way, Jose!!” says a fellow patron in line.”Just like everyone else here, I’m standing in line to get the last Coffee Pot sandwich. Statistically, where we are in line, 320 by the way, we’re not going to get a sandwich,” says Michelle Clark, of Levant. “So I came up here with 80 dollars and bribed the next guy in line to go get me two sandwiches.””The taste is the same. You go home and you still have the onions on you. You have a good memory,” says Greg Berg.”There are some things that are constant. And the Coffee Pot was a constant. Even if you didn’t buy one, you didn’t stand in line, you knew the Coffee Pot was there.””The Rist family has certainly been an iconic family. They’ve given back to the community,” says Jack Quirk. “It was a legend in the making and it will always be. Nothing will ever replace it. And I can understand why Mr. Rist is closing it down, because no one can do what their family did.””Here you go,” says Eric Stover, selling one of the sandwiches he just bought to Erik Rogers, of Bangor. “All right! Thank you, you’re the best,” he says in return. “I stood in line for two and a half hours. It was cold!” Stover says. “I’m the luckiest guy. God bless you. Thank you very much. That was terrific,” Rogers says.”No doubt, it’s worth the wait!” yells a man from a car. “Hooray!””Everybody, I think understood the impact that business had on the area. You’ve got Miller Drug right nearby, you’ve got Frank’s Bake shop right up the street. It was just a small business that made a very big impact,” says George Hale.”It’s a loss to our philosophy of living. Small business,” says Bill Miller, of Miller Drug. “He knew what his customers ate, and I don’t mean just a few customers. He will be sorely missed on State Street.””Skip, oh he’s just the nicest, gentlest guy. When I was a kid, his parents were there and I remember them. They were just wonderful family,” says Bernadette Gaspar, of Frank’s Bake Shop. “I think people are just going to miss his presence in the area.”The last sandwich ever sold went to 23-year-old Anthony Moore, of Brewer. “They’re so hard to explain. People who’ve had them, they know it. They’re good.”Erik Rogers sold the sandwich he bought from Stover to another woman, for a profit of one dollar. “She was too nice, I had to give it to her!” he says.She, in turn, shares it with folks in line. “That’s perfect. Thank you,” says a man, giving her a hug in return.At one point, a trumpeter walked into the crowded shop, playing Auld Lang Syne. “That street will never be the same and the city will never be the same without Coffee Pots.”