An Astoria eatery closed its doors this fall after almost a decade and a half in business, making way for another popular restaurant to take its place.

Rosemary Baking Company served customers for the past four years in its most recent location on 10th Street in downtown Astoria, serving sandwiches and soups made with artisan breads baked on the premises.

Owner Lorna Anderson closed up shop Sept. 1, selling the business after 14 years. She said numerous factors contributed to her decision to sell. Anderson said she's seen business gradually drop off in recent years.

"The demographics in this area have changed," she said. "And about 10 new lunch places opened up here in 2006."

Anderson said she's also been personally affected by the developing regional affordable housing crunch: she had to move last year after her landlord put the house she was living in up for sale, a disruption that took her away from the small business for about a month.

Then one of her employees accepted a full time job, leaving the shop shorthanded. She said in the current housing climate it can be difficult to find employees who can afford to live in Astoria.

The Rosemary Baking Company inhabited a few different locations in its tenure in the region. Anderson said the shop first opened in a building that no longer exists at the corner of Marlin Avenue and Highway 101.

Then Anderson moved the sandwich shop to #10 Sixth St., in the space now occupied by The Lazy Spoon Café, where she stayed for nine years. Four years ago, she moved to the 10th Street location.

Now Anderson is looking forward to assuming the role of employee instead of owning the business. She's seeking employment in the food service industry but will miss her customers.

"I really like working with people," she said. "Thanks to all my customers for their support all these years."

The space on 10th Street won't stay vacant for long, however. The popular Tokyo Teriyaki restaurant, currently on 14th Street near the corner of Marine Drive, will soon move to where Rosemary Baking Company used to be.

"They needed a larger space," Anderson said.

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