HANCOCK - Monticello's Grocery, a business known for its longevity and history in the Hancock area, will be closing its doors Dec. 24.
Yet this closing has a happy ending and one not associated with what most businesses go through that have to close their doors - like lack of customers - but because owners Arlene and Ted Monticello are finally hanging up their aprons and retiring after nearly 30 years of business.
"I'm 65, my husband's running 70," Arlene said. "You know when it's time, you just feel it."
Scott Viau/Daily Mining Gazette
From left, Ted Monticello, son David Monticello and Arlene Monticello pose for a picture outside their door. Ted and Arlene are closing the store in order to retire. The last day of business will be Dec. 24.
According to Arlene, the building that houses Monticello's was built and owned by the Hancock Copper Mining Company. Over the years, it changed hands many times, becoming Conway's in 1926. Ted Monticello began working there in 1960 when it was still Conway's. The building was sold to the Gemignani family in 1974 and the Monticellos took it over in 1983.
Over the years, the Monticellos have run the business together as a family.
"All of our children contributed something to our business," Arlene said.
However, Arlene insists she loves her job and retirement is not stemming from being fed up with the work, but out of necessity, and said there are things she will miss.
"I'll miss all the many loyal customers, mainly talking with the customers. It's the closeness that you get," Arlene said, choking up. "We've been here for 30 years and I've never gotten up in the morning not wanting to go to work. I love what I do."
Despite being in business for many years, Arlene can't think of any headaches that come along with the business she and her husband will be happy to not have to deal with anymore.
"I enjoyed it all," Arlene said. "I just want to have some free time."
Aside from Christmas Day, Monticello's has kept its doors open every day of the year, including Sundays, on which the store is open for four hours.
The two are looking forward to having more time to visit people like their son Teddy, who lives in Florida, and spending more time with their grandchildren.
"We can do whatever we want to do," Arlene said. "Just spending more time at home. This has been my home. Everyone says to me, 'This is your second home.' No, this is my first one."
Arlene and Ted's son, David Monticello, will buy the property, but will be closing down the store unless someone is interested in buying it.
"There are people who have been talking but no one's given a big yes yet," David said.
There are also apartments above the building, which will remain.
Despite not keeping the store running, there's a chance the popular homemade items, like the pizza and spaghetti sauce, may reappear at some point.
"For now, it's going to be done a little while," David said. "I might do it for someone who comes into the store."