It's the bottom of the ninth for a long time Pascagoula sports store. Montie's has served hundreds of thousands of people from Mobile to New Orleans over the past 50 years.
Located near the beach in Pascagoula, the store took in plenty of water due to Katrina. But this family business pulled together to recover and re-open. Now the doors are closing for good.
"I realize it just can't go on forever. I'd like to see it go on, but it can't. It's been a good business for me, I've really enjoyed it," store owner Montie Richards says.
For half a century, customers have counted on Montie Richards for soccer cleats, basketballs and more. An easy going, family atmosphere has made Montie's the go-to place for local schools, sports teams, and the average Joe. But that was before Katrina.
"The storm escalated things, it took a lot of our inventory. We decided that was the time, or this was the time to go ahead," Montie says.
Katrina may have taken some of the merchandise from Montie's. But one thing she couldn't sweep away was his spirit, or his commitment to customer satisfaction.
"He built that over the years and that's why he's successful. The relationship he's had with his customers and the attention he gives them," long time customer Jack McElroy says.
And after 50 years of business, it appears prices are rivaling 1956 costs. Ten cents for a pair of socks is literally pocket change.
"We're trying to ease out. And if we don't find anyone who can take over the store, we're going to sell the merchandise out and put it up for sale or for rent," Montie says.
The checkout line has gotten shorter, and so has Montie's time before he closes the doors for the last time. But he says he'll never forget the feeling of watching one happy customer after another.
"It's a feeling there, it's a joyful feeling though. They've stuck with me for so long. It's a feeling in my heart that I have to get out of here and to be the last time I'll be able to service them. And I'll miss it. Mmm, I'll miss it. Goodness," Montie says.
Montie plans to stay open until he can sell out of his stock, which he expects to happen by the end of January. There are no final plans yet regarding the building's future.
As for Montie, he says you won't find him on his front porch rocking chair just yet. He plans to stay active by building wooden ducks.