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Customers Save Long Island Village's Historic Restaurant After Learning Building Was For Sale

WILLISTON PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - Customers stepped in at the 11th hour to save a staple of a small town on Long Island nearly forced to close, CBS2's Steve Overmyer reported Friday.

Stepping through Hildebrant's doors is a journey back in time. The old fashioned soda shop has been in business in Williston Park for nearly 100 years.

The building was on the verge of being sold this week to a company that wanted to turn it into a state of the art coffee shop.

But, when the current owners broke the news to followers on social media, the response was overwhelming.

"The whole town... they were really upset. We have 35 years and it's my life. We put a lot of time and effort into it. We really didn't wanna see it just disappear," said Thomas Bauman, the manager at Hildebrandt's.

The business opened in 1927 and still displays its original neon sign. Over the years, countless smiling faces bellied up to the marble counter, waiting for a homemade sundae that was sure to brighten their day.

The thought of losing this piece of history affected all generations.

"I was emotionally upset about it, to be honest. I was losing something that, I had come now for the past 22 years here, to have my fix of ice cream," said Rich Hoag of Mineola.

Within hours of the social media post, the community comments reached into the thousands - the potential buyer backed out because of the response.

"He saw all those messages about how nostalgic this place is and how much it means to the community," said Bauman. "He did the right thing."

A new buyer stepped in and made it clear: Hildebrant's isn't going anywhere.

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