MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis institution is closing its doors. Montesi's Grocery, in the Binghampton area, is going out of business.
The 33-year-old store has a lot of bare shelves these days. Most items are 40 percent off as the store gets ready to close for good, which could be by the end of this week.
Melvin Becton has been coming to the store since it opened. He says it's weird to see it like that.
"Yeah, to see some empty shelves and all this," he says.
Robert Montesi opened the Summer store back in 1985, after the earlier chain of Fred Montesi's stores closed in 1983. His daughter, Patricia Montesi Veglio, and her siblings run it now. She says the mom and pop, off Summer Avenue, can't keep up with big chains like Kroger.
"We couldn't compete with pricing at all," Montesi Veglio says, "We don't have the base around us like they do. They have other stores to help them and it's just us."
The store is down to just six employees, including 14 year veteran Callie Cottrell.
"I'm so sad to see it go. I cried but it didn't do no good," she says, "I love this job. I'm 68 years old and this job I've loved more than any other I ever had."
Frustrated and devastated customers have been calling in.
"One lady cried on the phone with me today. I was shocked," Montesi Veglio says.
It's a sentiment shared by many who prefer a small, neighborhood market.
"Its just like a family. We're all splitting up now. It's sad," Montesi Veglio says.