Fran Houser & Joann Harwell

Fran Houser owned and managed the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas for twenty-three years.  Fran got her start in Adrian, after she returned to her family’s Texas roots from Massachusetts.  A divorce and a relationship that went South left Fran with some time on her hands, and so she decided to go into business.  She bought the cafe in Adrian which had been in operation since the late 1920s, and at first, she thought she would convert it into an antique store.  However, the locals were up in arms about that, so she kept it as a restaurant which she called the “Adrian Cafe”.  Most of her business initially came from people who were working in Texas industries and traveled home by car on vacations to visit their families in Mississippi and Alabama.  As the economy changed, however, and more people traveled by air, Fran discovered she needed to find a new customer base.  Luckily, she met author Tom Snyder  founder of the U.S. Route 66 Association who was doing an update of his “Route 66: Traveler’s Guide and Roadside Companion”.  They became friends and according to Fran, Tom said, “Fran, the Internet is becoming big in Travel!   Furthermore, I have done the mileage of the original Route 66 and your cafe sits right at the geographic midpoint of the old route.  If nothing else you need a web-site and you need to promote that it is the midpoint between Santa Monica and Chicago!”  Fran was starting to see German and French tourists coming into her business and so she realized Tom was onto something.  She changed the cafe’s name to the “Midpoint Cafe” in 1995.



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