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      Locklear's will close Mt. Pleasant location after 25 years

      MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- A long-time Mount Pleasant restaurant will soon close its doors. The owners of Locklear's Lowcountry Grill say it's just too expensive to keep open.

      The lunch crowd at Locklear's Lowcountry Grill is learning about today's specials and the news that their favorite dining spot is closing after 25 years.

      "I'm devastated. I'm a regular here. I love this place," lamented long-time customer Becky Peets.

      She works nearby and is a fan of the restaurant's convenience and quality.

      "I can get in and out of here under an hour. Or I can call in and be back at work in less than 15 minutes with a great meal. I'm sad that they're closing up," said Peets.

      Stephanie Howard is one of the owners. She says the cost of doing business at their Coleman Boulevard location is forcing them to make a serious decision.

      "Basically the rent has increased by about 30 percent. The restaurant square footage is very large, and it's just more than what we can afford to keep up with at this point," said Howard.

      She thinks their current spot is too big and changing customer preferences are affecting their bottom line.

      "Our sales are basically the same, but there's a lot of competition out there and you know we need a smaller location to sustain our business," explained Howard.

      "We pay a little bit more for the rent, but we're accessible," said next door neighbor Bob Boyce.

      He owns Audibel Hearing Center in The Shops of Mount Pleasant. He sees the benefit of paying higher rent for a premium location.

      "Some people sometimes hesitate to come from West Ashley to Mount Pleasant. Well they don't have to go all the way into Mount Pleasant but where we're at, at the bottom of the bridge," said Boyce.

      It's a location that will soon lose a local landmark.

      "I'm absolutely going to miss this place. This is really sad," said Becky Peets.

      Owners say there's still a chance they could move to a different, less expensive location. If that doesn't happen, the last day of business is May 27.

      The James Island restaurant will stay open.

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