WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — A Winston-Salem staple is closing its doors. Located in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem on Cherry Street, Ronnie’s Country Store has been a fixture in the community for decades.

Now the owner says he’s ready to start a new chapter and dedicate more time to his family. The store is famous for its country ham and down-home feel, but what’s been most memorable in the last few decades is the man behind the counter, Ronald Horton, known to most simply as Ronnie.

The store opened 96 years ago as W G White’s. Ronnie bought the space in 1994 and has run it ever since. Customers say it wouldn’t be the same without Ronnie.

“That’s one aspect you enjoy. He knows you, and you know him, and all of it is a country mindset where everybody comes in and knows each other,” said longtime customer Chris Beatty.

Ronnie has loved working in the store over the last 28 years, but he says it’s time for him to step away to spend more time with family.

“I’ve got four grandchildren,” Ronnie said. “I want to spend more time with them. And then my two sons, and…I’ve got two brothers and sisters, and we all live in King, and we’re going to have more get-togethers, spend more time together and mainly be with my family.”

The store is not going away completely.

The name will stay the same, but it’s reopening in the new year under new ownership and in a new building located at 408 North Liberty Street.

“It’s rewarding because we feel like we’ve accomplished something here that not only benefits us as making a living, but it’s been such a help to others. I guess that’s the consolation that I have that we’ve been able to brighten people’s day and help people some,” Ronnie said.

The new store is set to open in early 2022.