HAMPSTEAD — Dean's Restaurant owner Mary Jo Rupp won't say goodbye to Linda and Ron Schmidt, who will close Hyson's Fine Furniture Store and Appliances next month.
Instead, she'll say, "I'll see you around."
The Schmidts will close the 78-year-old furniture store on Feb. 22, but plan to open a bridal salon in the area next year.
The furniture store will be vacant until May, when Hampstead Big A Auto Partswill move in, owner Leslie Wheeler said.
Wheeler said he isn't sure whether he'll take over the General Electric appliance franchise operated by the Schmidts in a showroom adjacent to the furniture store.
"It's a good possibility," he said.
The Schmidts, harried as a result of going-out-of-business sales, have been heartened by the calls and comments they've received from longtime customers who are sorry the store is closing.
"You think people don't care, but they do," said Linda Schmidt, 47. She and her husband, who's 49, have ownedthe store since 1986 and employ 10 people.
On Jan. 19, the first day of the sale, 250 people lined up to get in at 10 a.m., they said.By 3 p.m., three-quarters of the merchandise -- marked up to 70 percent off -- was sold.
The Schmidts have been working since to restock the store.
Rupp, a customer for 20 years, said she'll miss the convenience and service Hyson's offered.
"You knew who you were dealing with," she said.
The store has been an anchor for Main Street since 1914, when Paul and Perry Hyson, both now deceased, opened a grocery store, which they later converted to a furniture and appliance store.
Paul's wife, Josephine, 88, said she and her husband lived in the store building when they were first married. The family soldthe business in the 1970s, she said.
"It was a great part of the Hyson family," she said. "I've talked to so many people who say they hate to see the store go."
Her daughter-in-law, Martha Hyson, has worked at Hyson's for the last two years.
Martha Hyson said longtime town residents remember Hyson's when it was a grocery.
"It was a big deal to come to town and come to Hyson's," she said.
Linda Schmidt said she will let Martha Hyson lock the door after the store'slast day of business.
Gail Terzano, owner of Timeless Creations on Main Street and secretary of the Hampstead Business Association, said, "It's going to be missed. It was a nice drawing card for Main Street businesses."
The Schmidts, Baltimore County residents, said the economy isn't forcing them to close; they're just ready for a new challenge.
"We have no regrets because we have made wonderful friends," Linda Schmidt said. "It's been a neat growth area."
She has planned for eight years to open a bridal salon where couples can come for help in planning their wedding.
She may call the business Linda's Bridal Elegance and envisions a large building with room to display 50 to 60 mannequins adorned in gowns. She plans to offer special services for handicapped customers.
Wheeler said he probably will renovate the Hyson building before moving in. His 8-year-old business needs more space, he said.