Aiken establishment closing its doors

West Side Bowery closing after 32 years

He's bowing out after 32 years and four months of business.

"I've been fighting back the tears. It's bittersweet," said West Side Bowery owner Sam Erb. "Mellow mushroom is going to come in. We're really pleased that they are coming in. They are very community oriented. It's not a cookie cutter franchise. "

But Saturday, a community poured out to say goodbye.

Erb said, "We have pictures to sign, we have a journal to sign, we have a band coming. We'll be here until all the food's gone."

To customers, it's more than an address.  One customer said, "It's like losing a friend."

Another customer said, "This is a 'from your heart' Aiken establishment. This is a piece of history."

A piece of history they say changed downtown Aiken forever.

One customer said, "They told Sam he was crazy for opening where he did, but then a store opened and another store opened .  It really is what started the development of downtown Aiken."

Erb says he could surprise everyone and start all over again soon.

"Eventually, after some good time off, I plan on opening another restaurant on a smaller scale."