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Whistle Stop Cafe continues traditions for 22 years in downtown Plant City

Whistle Stop Cafe
Posted at 5:04 AM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 05:39:07-04

PLANT CITY, Fla.  — Homemade bread, delicious sandwiches, hugs and new friends are exactly what you'll find when you walk into the Whistle Stop Cafe in Downtown Plant City.

The popular lunch spot has been here for 22 years.

Marti and Jerry Lofstrom embarked on this journey after spending some time in Brandon.

"We took a ride to this little town and he just literally fell in love with this place. He's like, Oh, my God this is such an old town. And it feels like Andy Griffith, where people are so nice and friendly," Marti reflected.

The Whistle Stop Cafe is in an old downtown drug store, in fact, the upstairs was a hospital.

"I'm not kidding, you have to come to this town you have to understand the humbleness of the people, and I'm talking about everybody in general," Marti said. "And they responded to us and in many, many different ways. My husband literally was part of this town, he loves to pray and he was involved in a lot of different things. He wrote for the newspaper, he was involved with the city when there were meetings. I mean, there were a lot of things that Jerry was in love with. And that's why we established ourselves, at least here, and I spent 22 years."

Jerry passed away in December of 2021. The community has been by the Lofstom's side through Jerry's passing and the passing of their daughter before that. In fact, their daughter is painted on a mural just outside their business.

"We always knew that Plant City was a caring little town until a situation like that happened to us. And the city just — I get goosebumps. The city just came through for us, and they were 100% there from the humbleness of the people to the churches," explained Marti. "We took a trip to Minnesota, and when we came back, they were cards and flowers and all over the building because people were so supportive of our situation. And my husband always said I know that people care. But I mean, now, now we, we understand that they are really, really, really caring. I mean, we knew they love us. But now it's even more for us to understand that we do belong in one city."

The Whistle Stop Cafe is truly a family-owned business, too. Marti and her son are the two you'll often see in the front of the business and her sister in the back. You'll always find homemade bread here, too.

"I'm just saying we're here, hoping and praying to God to stay. And, and I want to thank everybody in Plant City," said Marti. "I want to thank them for everything they have done for us, for our family for being there when we need them, and for embracing us in this moment when we need them most."