They're throwing a party this evening at the Red & White on Isle of Palms.

The staff will fire up the barbecue, serve hamburgers, hotdogs and even some cold beer. Maybe they'll have a little live music.

It should be a good time.

Wayne Moseley, the Red & White's owner, just wants to say thanks to everyone who has supported his mom-and-pop grocery over the years. It's a nice gesture. It's also a farewell party.

After Thanksgiving, the Red & White will start discounting everything they have left on the shelves until they close the doors for the final time on Dec. 17 or 18.

The lease is up in January and the landlord won't renew. The Beach Co. wants to level the whole shopping center to put in a fancy new chain store and the like. There's just no room for a locally owned grocery store on a resort island anymore.

A lot of IOP residents don't like it, but they might as well get used to it. That's how it's going to be.

And, frankly, it stinks.

Dollars, no sense

The Red & White has sat in the same spot for more than half a century.

It is an island institution, a landmark, part of the culture.

Moseley had the idea to renovate the shopping center a while back, to change with the times. The landlords decided that was just what they were going to do.

Without him.

He is understandably still upset.

“It is what it is,” Moseley says. “We're disappointed. The store has been here a long time and it will be missed by a lot of people.”

The Beach Co. told IOP officials that no lender would put up the money for a new shopping center without a name-store to anchor it. That's probably the truth, but it's not right.

These days, it's all about big business and dollars, not necessarily sense. There's apparently no room for tradition anymore.

Murky future?

In early January, an auction house will come in and sell all the fixtures and everything else left in the Red & White.

No one knows yet what will replace it. Whatever it is will face an uphill struggle. Not only will this new store compete with a handful of grocery stores just across the IOP connector, they will have to deal with the hard feelings of islanders who don't like losing a staple of their old life.

Moseley could retire if he wants, but he's not sure what he will do next — maybe another business. He knew all this would have to end one day.

“I just didn't want it to end this abruptly,” he says.

No one did.

Moseley is a local; he helped a lot of people after Hurricane Hugo hit. He gave a lot of island kids their first jobs. He was a neighbor, not an absentee owner. His store will be missed.

So come on out to the party this evening. Have a dog, drink a beer and commiserate with all the neighbors about the price of progress.

They say all good things come to an end.

That's all too true all too often. But this didn't have to happen — not like this.

Reach Brian Hicks at bhicks@postandcourier.com or read his blog at blog.postandcourier.com/brians-blog.