LELAND, NC (WWAY) -- The end is near for a Leland business. The owner says he's another victim of the struggling economy.
Come New Year's Day JW's Place will close up shop for good. Regulars say this place is so much more than a bar. They say it's a bar where they made great friends and great memories.
James Williams, or JW like most people know him, has spent more than nine years running his small bar off Highway 17 in Leland. Despite the years that have gone by JW still remembers the first day he opened.
"I think I had two people come in wanting to know what is was. I told them it was a bar. I had piece of ply-wood leaning on the side that said, 'bar,'" Williams laughed.
All laughing aside, come January 1 Williams will have to close JW's.
"The economy's got so bad, the rent's gone up so high I just can't do it anymore," he said.
At first glance JW's may not seem like a lot with two pool tables, chairs and a small wooden bar. But talk to any one of Williams's regulars, and they tell you how special the bar is and the people who work inside.
"He's a good man," customer Melanie Maggeard says of Williams. "He's done a lot for the community, a lot of benefits, and it's hard."
Maggeard has been coming to JW's for the past four years. The self-proclaimed regular says there is no telling where her friends at JW's will now go for good conversation and a drink.
"We've all been talking about that, and this is kind of the last of the little ol' country bars, and it wont be the same," she said.
Williams and all his friends are not going away quietly. JW's will have a New Year's Eve bash, which will also serve as it going away.
"It's a sad day for me, and I don't know when things will ever get better, but I hope they do," Williams said.
Maggeard said, "It's a lot more than a bar. It's our home. A lot of people's home."
As for Williams, he's going back to what he was doing before he opened JW's: construction. He hopes his age and health will still allow him to do the job.