Almost 65 years after opening its doors, the only store in the north Florida town of Bryceville has closed.
The Fouraker General Store — operated by 68-year-old Tommy Fouraker and daughters Julie and Lisa Fouraker — shut down on Dec. 16.
Fouraker offered several reasons for shutting down, such as a sagging economy and the inability to buy in bulk. But he says the main reason was loss of business due to the widening of the two-lane highway out front.
"There comes a point where you lost all you want to lose," Tommy Fouraker told the Florida Times Union. "Everything has a beginning and an end, I guess. It's not that we made all that much money at it. It's just that we loved to do it."
Lisa Fouraker says closing the store was like losing a family member.
Her sister Julie said they'll miss the camaraderie among those who often gathered at the store.
"A lot of people came in as strangers and when they came back, they were friends," she said. "It was part of our lives."
Until 10 years ago, the store, near Jacksonville in Nassau County, served as the post office. So, there were many regulars who stopped in every day to shop or just to chat.
"There was a lot of love in this place," said Bill Surrency, who lives in Bryceville and is Tommy Fouraker's nephew.
Bill Kruse, who lives around the corner, said he'll miss the convenience of having a store nearby. The next closest store is down the road in Baldwin.
"If you needed gas or milk or bread, it was there," Kruse said. "It's a good family that ran it. I know this broke their hearts."
The end came with a simple "Closed" sign on the door: "Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the many smiles, laughter and heartwarming memories you have brought to our lives."