After 41 years in Thomson, the family-owned company Lovelace Jewelers is going out of business.
The store, which has faced declining sales, will close its doors for the last time at the end of this month.
Rusty Lovelace works on a piece of jewelry Tuesday.
"It's awfully sad to see Lovelace Jewelers close. It has been an institution in this town for a long time," said Thomson Mayor Bob Knox.
Customers expressed surprise and sorrow over the news.
"I'm in shock over this," loyal customer Judy Hicks said
"Everything I ever bought in here was wonderful. But more than jewelry and china, we're going to miss the Lovelaces," she said.
A change in America's buying habits has affected many small businesses, including Lovelace Jewelers, said Rusty Lovelace.
The store always offered top quality merchandise and customer service, qualities that are not as valued as they once were.
Discount malls, internet shopping and lack of customer loyalty have helped erode sales from small business owners, he said.
In addition, the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 helped fuel an economic recession that was already weakening small businesses, said Harriette Lovelace.
"Everyone stayed home. They were terrified," Mrs. Lovelace said.
The family opened the business back in 1964 with an initial investment of $7,000. As the company grew, the location moved three times to its present address on Railroad Street.
Once the inventory and the building are sold, family members will make employment decisions. They may travel out of town to work, but want to continue living here.
"Our family has been here since 1783. Thomson is home."
Mr. Lovelace, who holds degrees in business and from the Gemological Institute of America, is unsure if he will remain in the jewelry field.
"If you're going to make a change, it might as well be something entirely different," he said.