WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - It's sad day for a lot of Washingtonians, as a locally owned grocery store chain says goodbye. Magruder's has been a fixture here for more than a century.

Andrea McCarren reports on the end of a bygone era.

Like Magruder's, Maria Garavito is a local institution. The 4-foot-11-inch customer service dynamo learned only Thursday morning that today was her last day.

"I said what? I was, I was shocked. 30 years," she said.

Today, prices are slashed. Hearts, broken.

"I almost went off. But I said I have to control myself," said Maria.

"A grown man isn't supposed to cry, but I'm crying," said Russell, a shopper.

Magruder's has been a family-owned and operated business since 1875, even offering home deliveries back in 1942.

"We've been coming here for what? 35 years? 20?" said Marilyn Greenwood, another shopper.

"I've been shopping since I came here in 1954," Russell said.

Customer loyalty is fierce.

"I've come to know some of the people in the store and I really like them. They're nice people. So, it's part of the neighborhood that's disappearing," said shopper Marlene Bishow.

Competition from big national chains simply proved too much. Magruder's is now in negotiations to sell its remaining stores.

"It's like another institution going down the tubes. So it will be sadly missed," Marilyn Greenwood said.

Only the Northwest Washington store has already been sold. It opened today with the old Magruder's name, but under new management.

"Mmmmmm, can't never take away the Mom and Pop shop. I don't care how big you get! Can't never take that away," laughed customer Annie Jones-Bey.

It's not just the closing of a business that hurts so much. But a place that united this community. Bringing strangers together, like family.

The other Magruder's stores still being sold are located in Gaithersburg, Rockville in Maryland, and in Alexandria and Vienna, in Virginia.

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