Jewelry store to close doors for good on Christmas Eve

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

WEST POINT, GA (WTVM) - Normally, this week is filled with excitement and hopes of big business for retailers.

But for one family-owned store in West Point, it brings about sadness as they prepare to close their doors.

You wouldn't know it to walk in the door of Hengstler's Jewelry store --- the eager look of customers, a bustling group of employees.

It looks like a typical Monday before Christmas.

But this year is different --- the signs say it all.

"We know it's going to be a difficult time for us, but we're trying to prepare ourselves for that fact," owner Billy Head said.

The fact is, downtown West Point is losing a fixture.

Started back in 1914 by Billy Head's father-in-law, they've been in the business of selling jewelry, china and bridal gifts for 95 years.

On Christmas Eve at 5:00 p.m., they'll shut their doors for the last time.

"I think it's just tradition, especially this time of year. You know what you're getting and you know the people. You know what they have to offer, they'll back it up and stand behind it," customer Angie Cardwell said.

You aren't in business for nearly a century without making good decisions.

And that's what this is.

Tthe family-owned business is having a tough time competing against corporate chains and a sluggish economy.

"As we all know, economic conditions now aren't good for any of us and that did play into it in some degree," Head said.

But it's still a tough pill to swallow for those who have spent their life, both working and shopping at this little piece of town history.

"We hear that more and more, that, and we realize that. People have been real supportive of us and we go back generations," Head said.

"Well, you just hate that they've having to do this and we're going to miss them," Cardwell said.

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