DOVER, Fla. — It's been a key part of the community for more 25 years: Harold's Feed and Pet Supply is being forced to close down.
"Our motto has always been, 'If we don't have it and you want it, we'll get it for you,'" Rhona Burnette said.
The Florida Department of Transportation is widening a 2.4-mile stretch of E Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard from Kingsway Road to McIntosh Road. The road will go from two to four lanes in order to handle more traffic.
Medians will be raised, a sidewalk will be built on the north side of the road and bike lanes on both sides of the road.
"When I drove by a couple of days ago and saw all this, I mean it just brings tears because you know how devastating this is going to be," customer Mary Suralis said.
Harold's is right in the middle of FDOT's project. Now that it has got to go, liquidation signs have been placed on the building. Piece by piece, the business is slowly getting ready for some big changes.
"I just think it's sad when the government can come along and take," Suralis said.
The customers are just as sick as the owners. The feed store has been open since 1972. Bill Burnette and his wife Rhonda bought it decades ago and have spent years fighting with the state to keep the property. They settled with the state a few weeks ago for $1.9 million and are giving up their entire property.
"That's when it really got real. That's when we really knew that it was going to end," Bill Burnette said.
FDOT says when an entire property is taken, the owner is not entitled to a Business Damage Payment. The owner can, however, file to get a relocation payment 18 months after they leave their business behind. The couple says the eminent domain laws need to be changed to be fairer to businesses.
"They weren't unfair to us on the property value. The unfortunate thing about it is, that alone is not enough to come back and by something else and build a new building," Bill Burnette said.
While the news hasn't been easy to process, the couple's customers are getting them through the sale.
"It'll be really emotional. I mean it's going to be sad because it's been such a big part of our lives," Rhonda Burnette said.
Harold's liquidation sale starts at 8 a.m. Feb 13. The state is giving the couple until March to leave their property. They're doing their best to sell all they can before then.
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