The exterior of The Hangar 9 in Carbondale is shown in 2014.

CARBONDALE — For the right price, Sally Carter is willing the pass the torch.

The matriarch of Hangar 9, one of Carbondale’s best known nightlife spots, is ready to hang up her hat after more than 30 years at the bar. She made the announcement early Thursday morning on Facebook.

“I am 63 years old, and it is time for some younger ideas to take on the management of this iconic staple on the Strip in Carbondale,” Carter wrote on her Facebook event.

She went on to say that the bar has been good to her and could do the same for the new owner.

“Hangar has been a good earner. It has afforded me a nice life style over the years,” she wrote.

Carter took over the operation in 1980 and has been a vocal advocate for businesses on the Strip. She fought over the years to lower the age restriction for bar entrance — she wanted it to be 18, but has said she settled for 19.

She also was a driving force behind fighting the city’s regulation that Hangar and other bars on the Strip close around Halloween because of raucous partying and civil unrest during previous celebrations.

When reached by phone Thursday, Carter said she has had this decision on her mind for a little while. Her husband, James Duke, has an advancing case of dementia that Carter said is now her priority.

“I don’t have time to do much more than care for my husband,” she said.

Looking back, Carter said she should have considered shutting down eight years ago after the original Hangar 9 building collapsed under the weight of snow and ice after a big storm. She said it wasn’t long after that her husband began needing care.

Further reflecting on her legacy in Carbondale, Carter said she hopes to see the city continue down what she called “the right track.” She hopes to see Southern Illinois University grow and for Carbondale to continue to embrace its roots as a party town.

She also said she looks forward to seeing what new blood will do to her business and downtown. Carter also said she hasn’t counted out getting more involved with the city in the future.

“I can see down the road becoming more involved in the city, maybe running for Council — at least serving on committees again,” Carter said.

Carter wrote on Facebook that she has operation of the bar “down to a science” and added that because of this the workload is minimal for her. She said she has no problem passing on this trove of knowledge to the new owner.

“I would be willing to stay on to teach a new owner all that I know,” she wrote.

There was no price listed in her notice, but it did say the sale was for both the real estate and the business.

Carter said she doesn't have a deadline for the sale and doesn't have plans to close if a buyer doesn't come along soon.

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On Twitter: @ismithreports



Isaac Smith is a reporter covering Jackson County.

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