COLUMBIA, S.C. — One store that’s been around the Columbia area for more than four decades will be closing its door.
It's been a staple in the Columbia area for over four decades.
Mel Blackwell feels like he's home every time he walks in The Backpacker store in Columbia.
"Columbia really doesn’t have a shop like this. I've been coming here since I was a student at Carolina. They were down at Harden Street. The thing I've loved about them was they've always been so helpful. It's kind of like family," said Blackwell.
It's a family environment at a business that's been run by the two Jones brothers, Malcom and Lewis, since 1973.
"He was a school teacher and I worked at a golf course. If we had to know anything, we would have been out of business in the first year," explained Malcom.
Considering the fact Malcom and his brother have kept their outdoor enthusiast story open for 45 years, they've done pretty well, but sometimes time takes its toll.
"I'm 74 and my brother is 76 and it's just time for us to be out," said Malcom.
The Jones brothers say they’re ready to retire after spending 40 years in the business. They announced they would be closing their doors here in the future.
It’s not the first store they’ve had to close. A few years back, they closed their Mount Pleasant location.
Customers are Blackwell say they’re really going to miss going to the store here in the capital city.
"Saddened because I've seen so many of these types of stores going out of business. The other places, they may sell some of the same stuff but they don't offer the same service," said Blackwell.
It's not just stores in the Midlands are impacting the Vista store. Malcom says it's more because of online retailers like Amazon.
"The internet sales, even though the manufactures try to control that and they say that they're going to do a better job of it, have certainly hurt us," said Malcom.
The Jones brothers are hoping someone will buy the store and maybe carry on its name.
Malcom says he's grateful he's had to serve three generations of customers at "The Backpacker."
"We've had so many customers since we announced that we were closing this store that have come in and just told us how much they've enjoyed it. Thank you and we'll miss you," said Malcom.
The Backpacker hasn't said what date they're going to be closing.
At this time they won't be getting any more merchandise and will make a final decision on their last day in the future.