CLEAR LAKE | Doug Marty of Virginia, who has been a summer resident of Clear Lake since he was a child, was among the volunteers helping to give the outside of the Barrel Drive-In a fresh coat of white paint Monday.
"I've been eating at the Barrel for 45 years," said Marty, whose father grew up in Mason City and whose grandfather built a home on Clear Lake in the 1920s.
Doug's wife, Laura, and their daughter, Ani, also were painting at the Barrel on Monday.
"We always come (to the Barrel) for the chicken," Ani said.
Seth Thackery, the owner of the restaurant, is struggling to keep it in business. He has said he is facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs to the drive-in, which was established in 1958.
After recent news articles about the possible sale and demolition of the restaurant, two other local business owners stepped forward to help.
Julie Wright, owner of Executive Financial Architects, and Michael Fiala, owner of Internet Marketing and Creative.com, have agreed to provide $75,000 in business consulting, coaching, marketing, digital, video and Internet services to Thackery over the next two years.
The Barrel also is being considered for a possible makeover on "Restaurant: Impossible," a show on the Food Network.
But in the meantime the drive-in is getting spruced up for the Labor Day weekend.
Thackery's parents, Mike and Juli Thackery, were helping to paint on Monday.
They said all four of their children began working at the Barrel when they turned 14.
Juli said it was great for them because it was mostly during the summer so it didn't interfere with school.
She said they learned how to deal with the public and how to make change.
But most of all, "It taught them such a great sense of responsibility and work ethic," she said.
Seth, who continued working at the Barrel when he was an adult, purchased the drive-in restaurant in 2008.
Volunteer painting of all four exterior walls is scheduled for the next few days, weather permitting.
Painting will take place from 7 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. If it rains on those days, painting will be delayed until later in the week.
Paint will be provided. Volunteers are asked to bring water to drink as well as brushes, drop cloths, a ladder, a scraper, roller extensions, roller pans, roller handles and roller pads.