The gas pumps are gone and the words "Store Closed" are posted on the sign outside of the Golden Pantry Food Store at Hodges Mill and Mars Hill roads.
Signs on the doors read:
"We are Sorry to Announce that due to the Department of Transportation road widening project this store will close as of Midnight on November 4th.
"We look forward to serving you in one of our other area locations.
"Thank you for your many years of Patronage."
Though aware of the Mars Hill widening project, a store manager in January 2011 told Patch she was surprised to learn the store would need to be purchased.
A firm hired by the county to handle negociations has been obtaining rights of way for more than 100 properties and purchasing others that the county must turn over to the Georgia Department of Transportation in preparation for the construction.
According to an Oconee County Observations report at the end of September, "the purchase of needed rights of way for the widening of Mars Hill Road from SR 316 to Butler’s Crossing is progressing on schedule, and actual construction on the roadway is expected to be underway late next year or early in 2014."
The Mars Hill widening project will eventually transform the two-lane road into a four-lane divided highway from SR 316 all the way to Main Street in Watkinsville.