Aiken Furniture Company getting ready to close on the Southside

May 11—Aiken Furniture Company won't be open much longer on the Southside.

"We're closing the store because the cost of doing business in the city is too high," said Jeremy Curles, who owns Aiken Furniture Company in partnership with his wife, Michelle. "I've hired a liquidator to come in and run the sale.

"This is a tough time for mom-and-pop retailers," he added. "Everybody I've talked to is struggling. Shopping centers and real estate owners want to go up in rent because they are having a tough time, too, but you can only squeeze so much out of a small business.

"We've been squeezed, and it's just time to do something different," Curles concluded. "We love doing business and we love working with people, but we just can't take the pressure anymore. We've got to adapt to the changing climate."

The Curleses plan to start another business, Goshen General Store, near their home between Aiken and Montmorenci.

"We're going to build our own building," Jeremy said. "Mostly we'll sell furniture, home décor, farm implements and maybe some shrubbery. Maybe we'll have a vegetable stand.

"I think we could be open by the end of the year," he continued. "We just have to figure out exactly what we can do and what we want to do, and make sure it all fits. We've started tinkering a little bit. It won't take long to build."

In addition, Michelle told the Aiken Standard that plans call for Goshen General Store to offer leather goods, soaps, lotions and jewelry. "We'll have handmade, locally made stuff," she said.

Aiken Furniture Company opened in 2011. The store was located on East Pine Log Road and then the Mitchell Shopping Center before moving to its present site at 2535 Whiskey Road approximately five years ago.

Jeremy wasn't sure exactly how much longer Aiken Furniture Company would be welcoming customers.

"When we sell out of goods, we'll close it up," he said.

Jeremy also discussed further how difficult it has been for some stores locally to survive in recent years.

"I just want people to understand how hard it is to keep a business going in a town the size of Aiken when you've got Columbia and Augusta on both sides," he said. "We've lost Bed Bath & Beyond, we've lost Tuesday Morning and now we're going to be going in a different direction.

"If Aiken people would shop in Aiken, nobody would have problem," Jeremy added. "People just need to understand what supporting a small-town business does. It really helps."

Aiken Furniture Company is in the shopping center where Target is located.