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Memories at Marv's: Diamond Valley diner to close up shop for good

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Marv's Classic Soda Shop is in its final days as a 1950s-themed destination for burgers, milkshakes and candy in the heart of the southern Alberta community now called Diamond Valley.

The vintage vinyl jukebox has been sold, along with the rest of the mid-century decor that has adorned the diner's walls for more than 23 years.

"[The last day] will be a pretty sad day for everybody," said Marv, the establishment's founder, who did not provide a last name.

Marv initially opened up the store as an antique shop but soon after, he began selling candy, then ice cream and then eventually, operations expanded to a full-service diner and candy shop.

He says he's struggled to retain enough staff to keep up with the pace of the restaurant, receiving very few applications in the past year.

With a few days left before the final fry is served, Marv's Classic Soda Shop is packed as people bid farewell.

Now, he's ready to retire and will close up shop after Labour Day.

"This [past] weekend, we were absolutely inundated with people. At one point in time, I had more employees that used to be here than employees that are here," said Marv.

"[People] come to Marv's for memories -- that's what they come here for and we give them away free. I've been to so many places and done so many things in my life. I pretty much have a story for anybody that walks in the door."

With a few days left before the final fry is served, Marv's Classic Soda Shop is packed as people bid farewell.

With a few days left before the final fry is served, the diner and candy shop are packed as people bid farewell.

"I'm really sad because our other coffee place has gone here now, too, so to lose the ice cream place, that's really [sad]," said Debbie Carroll, who has regularly visited from Calgary.

"It feels natural '50s, not artificial '50s," said George Carroll, as the couple shared shakes and fries with another couple across the booth.

Those who grew up near the diner say the building will carry numerous memories of summer nights cooling off with a shake or a soda.

"When I was a kid with my brother and sister, we would walk down here all the time. It was like our summer activity and we'd sit and we'd eat and we'd talk for hours," said 16-year-old Ella Dash, who is originally from Diamond Valley.

With a few days left before the final fry is served, Marv's Classic Soda Shop is packed as people bid farewell.

Without sharing many details, Marv says he doesn't expect to ease into retirement.

"I'm sure it's not the end of Marv."

But he does consider closing up shop to be the end of an era.

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