JD's Linen Shop has served the Feilding town for 40 years, but the end of March it will close due to lack of support.
Co-owners Steve Arlett and Allison Jordan are stressed and disappointed and face a bleak future.
They bought the retail specialty linen shop from John Darragh 10 years ago but have made the decision to sell up and move on.
"We've drawn a line in the sand. We can't go on anymore."
The house the couple built will also have to be sold to clear the debt.
And at their ages, the prospects for employment plays on their minds.
"Before we moved here (present location) we had five employees.
"We've worked seven days for six years," they said, disappointment weighing heavily in their words.
Arlett says 65 per cent of their customers came over from Palmerston North.
"It's a growing town but when we look over the past 10 years, Feilding is not supporting us."
He emphasises the mantra, "keep local, live local, buy local".
But JD's Linens is not the only retailer to close up shop.
"In the past 10 years good stores have gone. They closed up because of the lack of support."
He says those stores, like JD's, were destination shops.
"People came to buy from us and then they would stay in the town and shop at other retailers or have a coffee."
But that 65 per cent was not enough to keep them financially viable.
"We are in a market today where people pick up the phone and buy online.
"They are not looking at the quality, it's just a knee-jerk reaction to what they want."
It's the result of a throw-away society, where price beats quality, he says.
And then there were those who came into JD's and remarked - "Oh, you are not expensive as we thought".
And others who came into the shop, looked around and left.
"If they communicated with us, we could have matched or come close to the price of the big chains."
John Darragh came into the shop to share his commiserations.
"I am sad for two reasons.
"It is a loss for the town and the legacy of my family who in 1880 came to Feilding from Ireland."
Arlett said there were also the social groups who came to them for fundraising around Christmas, and they were generous.
After all, this was their town and they were happy to support the locals. It's a bitter pill to swallow.
Manawatū District Council Mayor Helen Worboys said she was very sad for Steve and Allison.
"They have always been very pro-active in the business community and were always on the campaigns.
"They were really good business community members."
She said the face of retailing was changing.
"We are always getting new business, but it is a challenge for everybody.
"How do we keep the town centre vibrant? The Council is looking at a refresh of the town centre.
"I am personally pushing - what can Council do? Retail can't do it on its own."
Earthquake strengthening was a big issue in the town centre, she said, and Council was looking at that in the District Plan.
Accommodation in the top floors of the retail buildings would bring people into the town centre 24/7 and it was an opportunity of an income stream for building owners, Mayor Worboys said.
"Developers and owners could apply for Resource Consent in the District Plan."
Everything is on the table, including the provision of contracts by the Council.
"I have serious concerns what is not happening. What is it that we want delivered?"
She said there was a lot of work going on at Council.
The loss of a community paper that truly served the Manawatū was another blow to the region, Mayor Worboys said.