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Schewels in downtown Lynchburg to close next month after almost 70 years of business

Schewels in downtown Lynchburg is closing (WSET)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) - Efforts to revitalize downtown Lynchburg means drawing more businesses and restaurants to the area.

"Holiday season is good times right now. Sales are up," said Jeff Gray, owner of Scene3 on Main Street in Lynchburg.

Holiday sales are not enough to keep the doors at Schewels open much longer. They're closing their Main Street location on January 15, 2018.

"Really sorry to see it go, because I've seen downtown revitalize with the growth of the riverfront, and it would be great if they were able to hold out until the growth reached up to Main Street and Church Street," said Walter Nurmi, a Lynchburg resident.

Customers have purchased furniture and other items from Schewels in downtown Lynchburg for 120 years, and 70 years at this location. The owners said business and traffic is down, and they plan is to consolidate the inventory into their Timberlake location.

Some downtown business owners said it's sad, but not surprising.

"A store like this fits a certain need, but the way downtown has changed, it doesn't seem to be fitting with the vibe," Gray said.

Others, like Thomas Wood, who owns Scarlett's Main Street Gallery Antique Mall, said it represents a grim reality for downtown business owners.

"Schewels was the last business that was a major retail chain. It was downtown, and it's gone. Now, we have no major retail chains downtown," he said.

Some have said efforts to revitalize the area are falling short, especially when it comes to longtime businesses.

"They need to make their tax structure more business friendly. Their parking situation: they wanted to have two-way traffic, they wanted to have paid parking. All this stuff hurts our business," Wood said.

Seven employees at the downtown Schewels location are planning to transfer to other stores.

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