Allen's Antiques owner, Edelphia "PeeWee" Allen, said she's been unlocking the store's doors for 65 years, but she now has a "Going Out of Business" banner draped across the store's front and two "For Rent" signs in the store's windows.

Allen said jokingly, "Sometimes I feel like taking that sign down and put up another one saying I've changed my mind, I 'm not going to do it. You reckon I can get away with that?"

The 88-year-old widow is a little reluctant to close the shop's doors for good, especially during a month that's always been difficult for her.

"Every dear family I've had I've lost in May. My husband, my son, and my sister who I raised. Every one of them. 10 years apart," she said.

PeeWee's sister died in May 1987, her late husband, Rayburn, passed away in May 1997, and her son, Chip, died in May 2007.

Allen said despite life dishing out some horrible things to her, Allen's Antiques customers have always made it better.

"You don't make customers out of your friends, but you make friends out of your customers. Some of the dearest friends I have are customers that I have served from over the years," Allen said.

Ciara Hargis-Phillips said her mother and PeeWee were friends before Ciara was born. In fact, Ciara said PeeWee was one of the first people to hold her. Ciara now lives in Austin, TX with her husband, but brought her four-month-old son to Allen's Antiques to meet PeeWee for the first time. Ciara, Ciara's husband, and their infant son all posed with PeeWee, who was sitting in an antique chair, for a picture.

When Ciara learned PeeWee was closing the antique store she said, "She's a pillar of the community. I think this is one of the places that make Lenoir City what it is."

Allen said she's received lots of letters thanking her for her service to the community, which makes it a little harder for her to shut the doors.

"Well, it's just part of my life," she said.

PeeWee doesn't have an exact closing date, but said it will be very soon.

Read or Share this story: