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Lyn Beyer opened this shop in 1982 after a long career in retail, which led him to the conclusion that corporate America sucks. "If you do this right," he says of owning a specialty shop, "you're going to have a decent income and a nice life. If you want extra, well, you better go find a job and listen to somebody else tell you what to do."
The industry says you can sell humidors only in the fall and winter. Beyer carries them year-round. "I sell humidors every day," he says. "Why? Because I have them!" He's proud to be in the business of lighter repair. He never sold a lighter he didn't see again, he says. "If they get it at QuikTrip, they throw it away. If they get it here, they bring it back. I take care of things. And if they get too worked up about the lighters not working, I'll throw it in the trash and then say, 'OK, now what do you want to do about it? This is not something that's going to change the course of mankind. It's a damn lighter. Now, do you want it to work or don't you?'"
A customer comes in and asks Beyer about his health. "I'm still havin' a little angina," he says casually.
After the rush, Beyer's wife, Bobbe, who is handling deliveries and painting doors today, confesses that she stays busy because she's stressed about her husband's health. Tomorrow, Lyn will have his second angioplasty in three weeks. Lyn comes back, and Bobbe stops talking about it. They joke about their dining-room furniture. They talk about the regulars. Then Bobbe announces that her paintbrush is getting dry, and she gets back to work.
They went in through Lyn's right thigh last time, and they'll go in through the left thigh this time. He'll take Friday off, but he'll be back on Monday -- if not over the weekend. -- Gina Kaufmann
White Haven Motor Lodge
Given the clutter of signs competing for the split-second attention of drivers along the east side of Metcalf around 80th Street, it's fairly easy to miss the classic neon that heralds the White Haven Motor Lodge. Built at the end of the 1950s, this white-brick building is a quaint throwback to an era when the car was the way to see the U.S.A.
The folks who own the place claim that not much has changed; the motel remains a quiet spot. This is certainly true on a midweek morning. Just before noon checkout time, there's more activity at the Sonic next door or the Winstead's across the street. A stout woman with orange cotton-candy hair gets into a white Cadillac idling under the canopy outside the motel's office. In the lobby, a giant wooden eagle hovers over the plush, burgundy-colored furniture while a talking head on Fox News blathers away on the big-screen TV.
The owners become skittish at the mention of the Pitch. "What kind of slant are you putting on this?" one of them, a woman, asks suspiciously. White Haven is family-oriented, they say. The Pitch is too edgy. They don't want to be featured, don't know what good it would do for them. Yet another one of the owners continues to talk. He's been with the White Haven since it was built 47 years ago. They close at midnight, and there aren't a lot of bars nearby. Sometimes, he says, they'll get "riffraff," but that's rare.