HICKORY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — For the last few days, the lunchtime crowd at Hickory Smokehouse has been a little wild— large and wanting food, and a lot of it.

“We’re just going to miss them terribly,” said Candy Throneburg. “We really are.”

Many coming to the restaurant want that one final chance, and final taste, before Hickory Smokehouse closes for good on Saturday.

“We can’t keep sauce,” said owner Lorin Weaver. “They’ve been ordering it by the gallon.”

If the crowd at Hickory Smokehouse is any indication, the issue is not the lack of business. Weaver said business is arguably the best that it has been in years.

The problem, though, comes to staffing. As a family-owned restaurant wanting to serve their patrons, Weaver said they cannot compete with other places offering better wages. It’s a problem that is currently plaguing some local businesses in Hickory, and extending to many other places.

“It’s hard to keep them in the door. I’ve been in the business 50 years, and it’s never been like this,” said Weaver.

Weaver said wage competition, along with the supply shortages led to him closing the business “on a high note.”

“Bush’s Baked Beans went up $20 a case last week,” said Weaver, of the supply chain issues. “You just can’t keep ahead of it.”

For patrons, they are sad the restaurant is closing. However, they are taking a chance to stock up.

“I came yesterday and bought six pounds so we can take it home and freeze it, and we got sauce,” said Throneburg. “And we decided we needed more, so I’m back for more sauce.”

Hickory Smokehouse will close permanently on Saturday at 5 p.m.