INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Saying goodbye isn't easy. John and Bobbi Turnage are finding that out this week.
The couple is closing their Independence Thriftway at 26th and Crysler after 24 years. Loyal customers came by Friday to say goodbye.
"We've spent the whole week crying and hugging, and saying goodbye to everybody," said Bobbi Turnage, "It's been hard."
The Turnages took ownership of the store in 1989. Since then, they have made a point of hiring neighborhood kids to work, supporting neighborhood fundraisers and creating a family atmosphere at their store.
But after their son, Stephen, died unexpectedly nearly two years ago, things at the store were never the same. Stephen Turnage was 33. He was the store's manager. His parents said it has been difficult for them to continue without him. That, and the fact that business has been declining, persuaded them to sell the property.
The new owners, the Passantino family, also own a nearby Sun Fresh. It is unclear what their plans are for the Thriftway. John and Bobbi Turnage plan to close their doors for the final time Saturday at 7 p.m.
After this weekend, the couple will concentrate their efforts full time on their other property, a Country Mart, in Peculiar, Mo. It is managed by their other son, Aaron.