The Suncook TD Bank branch is closing in April, and residents don’t want to say goodbye

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  • Brandie Garrigan has worked at the Allenstown Country Diner since it opened six years ago and does not drive a car so the closing of TD Bank in Allenstown does affect her now that she has to ask friends to get her to Concord or Hooksett to do her banking. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Bob Champagne sits with his granddaughter Sophia as she drinks chocolate milk at the Allenstown Country Diner. Champagne learned that the TD Bank in Allenstown was closing in April while at the diner on Wednesday.

  • Brandie Garrigan has worked at the Allenstown Country Diner since it opened six years ago and does not drive a car so the closing of TD Bank in Allenstown does affect her now that she has to ask friends to get her to Concord or Hooksett to do her banking. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The Allenstown Country Diner on Route 3 just over th bridge in Allenstown has been open for six years. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The TD Bank in Allenstown will be closing in April. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Bob Champagne's granddaughter Sophia came in for chocolate milk and pancakes when Bob learned that the TD Bank in Allenstown was closing in April while at the Allenstown Country Diner on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Bob Champagne just learned that the TD Bank in Allenstown was closing in April while he was having breakfast at the Allenstown Country Diner on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Bob Champagne just learned that the TD Bank in Allenstown was closing in April while he was having breakfast at the Allenstown Country Diner on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Bob Champagne just learned that the TD Bank in Allenstown was closing in April while he was having breakfast at the Allenstown Country Diner on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor columnist
Published: 2/3/2021 4:27:32 PM

John Theuner, fresh off his breakfast of sausage gravy and biscuits, leaned hard on his cane, easing himself into a chair Wednesday at the Allenstown Country Diner.

He’s 88, a regular at this charming, old-school restaurant, with its long counter sandwiched between chairs and the kitchen out back, and tables scattered about in two adjoining rooms.

The diner continues to offer a spot where names of customers and employees cut through the chatter like a familiar breeze. Sadly, another one, TD Bank on Glass Street in Suncook, is closing its doors on April 23, decades after it began serving the area.

It’s a downsizing thing, coming straight from TD headquarters in New Jersey, eliminating six of the state’s branches and disrupting the rhythm in a village that had always counted on its local bank for comfort, convenience and consistency.

“This is terrible,” Theuner said, “and to hear it was closing, I couldn’t believe it.”

The diner and Theuner work well together, a tight bond created between an establishment with a nostalgic feel and a man who loves his flip phone and has no internet at home.

What he does have are deep roots. He said he loves Pembroke and all the smaller towns that circle the core of the Suncook Village. He joined the Pembroke Fire Department 60 years ago and still volunteers there. TD visits became more than mere stops at a bank. It was an essential part of the little downtown that includes a bakery, a couple of pizzerias, a Chinese food restaurant, and a post office. 

“I’ve been going there, I want to say for 30 years,” Theuner said of the financial institution that used to be known as Suncook Bank. “I feel bad for the old people that have to walk.”

He’s one of the lucky ones, spry at 88, scoffing at the snow here while his wife enjoys the Florida sun, still driving himself around. In fact, he’d be leaving soon to pick up a friend at the airport in Manchester. 

Brandie Garrigan is not so lucky. She’s the boss at the diner, opening at 6 a.m., closing at 2 p.m., greeting her neighbors, serving them food.

She has no driver’s license. TD is her bank. It’s the only one in Pembroke or Allenstown and is a short walk for her and others.

“It hasn’t affected me so much yet, but it will because I don’t drive, and I know several people in the area who also don’t,” Garrigan said during a short break.

Garrigan said her neighbor is disabled and will have trouble doing her banking once TD leaves. She said the woman was strong enough to make regular trips to TD, something she looked forward to each day.

Garrigan said she’s got plenty of family and friends to drive her to another bank, somewhere out of town.

But that won’t replace what she got from the Suncook branch.

“Terrific staff there,” Garrigan said. “They were wonderful, know you by name, you’re comfortable, especially when you’re dealing with money. It’s a stressful thing, and they’re patient and kind.”

Vicki Therrien, eating breakfast with a large group of friends, said she’s been going to the Suncook branch since she was a kid. 

She worried about driving to a more congested area like Concord. She turned 70 this week and feels like she’s losing a friend. A longtime friend.

“Yeah, I’m sad,” Therrien said, “because it’s been there for a long time. It’s been there for ages, and to have it leave, I’m like, ‘What the heck?’ ”

Just like what’s happened to other businesses, something like this was inevitable, as COVID and home technology have killed the in-person banking procedure.

A statement sent from TD headquarters to the Monitor this week explained the forces that led to their decision. 

“In reaching a decision to close a specific TD Bank store, we consider many business factors, including the number of customers visiting our stores, transaction volumes, the location’s proximity to other TD Bank stores and the number of customers who use multiple store locations,” the bank’s brass said.

Over in the front room, Bob Champagne of Pembroke hadn’t heard the news, about the six TD branches – also in Brookline, Conway, Farmington, Kingston and Winchester – that were due to close in April.

He sat at the old-fashioned counter with his little granddaughter, Sophia, and ordered breakfast.

Champagne said he had heard something about TD closings, but he wanted confirmation.

And when he got it, Champagne popped no corks in celebration. TD has been his bank since he moved here from Manchester 16 years ago.

“Oh, no, that’s going to affect me big time,” Champagne said. “It’s a massive inconvenience. I can walk to the bank from my house. It’s the only reason why I go there.”




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