UNICOI, Tenn. (WJHL) – After more than 6 decades of serving the community, a hardware store in Unicoi has closed its doors.

“I just want to share our love with the community and thank them,” Jones Hardware Store Owner Kirk Spradley said.

Spradley said he’s been forced to close because the Tennessee Department of Transportation plans to expand into the parking lot, leaving not enough space for parking, which he said is essential.

TDOT said in a statement they expect to open bidding for the more than 2 million dollar project in December.

Spradley said since he is leasing the property, he wouldn’t receive monetary compensation from TDOT, except maybe moving costs, which still wouldn’t be enough to sustain the business.

“Any compensation that’s due is due to the landowners,” Spradley said. “They don’t consider the fact. They’re not concerned what it takes to operate the business.”

TDOT released a statement confirming the project aims to replace the bridge over North Indian Creek and that they are proposing minor acquisition to the property.

Spradley said come this weekend, Unicoi will lose more than just a business.

“We have a group gentleman that come and meet at our store every single morning, even on a holiday when the stores closed, they have keys to my store,” Spradley said. “They’re all retired guys, and we’ve got a coffee machine and seats and you know like we’re the Unicoi Community Center, or we were, and loved them dearly.”

Auctioneer Ed Johnson will be responsible for conducting the final auction Saturday.

“We found the original cash register up in the attic,” Johnson said. “We found old machinery that’s been there for years and years up in the rafters, but the people who come in they just say we hate that they’re going out of business.”

“I’m just really sad,” Spradley said. “It’s not just about losing the business, I mean that’s really really sad too, and it hurts financially but that’s just how close we feel with the folks.”

Spradley said about seven employees will lose their job.

The auction will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

The store will host a preview on Friday from 12 to 5 p.m. for those who want to walk through the items before they start selling.