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Closing a harsh reality for small businesses

The tough economy means slumping sales, and now, it is too much for some small family-owned businesses to overcome.

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LOUISBURG, N.C. — For nearly six decades, Rowe's Men Shop has been a fixture in the Louisburg community.

And for current co-owner Mike Rowe Jr., the store has been a part of his life as long as he can remember.

"I grew up in the store," he said. "We grew up playing in the store a lot of days, because that's where we had to be."

In a few months, however, Rowe will close for good the store his grandfather founded in 1952.

Sales at the store have dropped 40 percent compared with what they were three years ago. Now, Rowe says, he doesn't think he will be able to stay open past the summer.

Rowe's story is like that of many other family-owned businesses that span generations and have stood the test of time. The tough economy means slumping sales, and now, it is too much to overcome.

"Your profit margins shrink considerably because your expenses increase," Rowe said.

It's a similar situation in Cary at The Spin Cycle, which Kevin Coggins has owned for nearly two decades. It will likely close by the end of the month.

"It feels like a family member has passed away," he said. "When times are tight, people watch their discretionary spending very closely."


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