LENOIR CITY (WATE) - The East Tennessee Preservation Alliance named Lenoir City's downtown area an endangered heritage and some business owners told 6 News the area's decline is hurting business.
One long time business plans to shut its doors within a month.
Edelphia Allen, better known as Pee Wee in Lenoir City, has owed Allen's Antiques & Used Furniture on East Broadway for more than 50 years.
Allen is 86-years-old and said she is mainly closing down because of her age but also said it's in part because of the declining foot traffic downtown.
"Most people are going to the big box stores, E-bay and all that, Allen said." "You just can't stay in with the decline. When you start having to put money into something you need to move on and that's what's happening here."
Allen said business was down about 20 percent last year and so far said it looks to be down about ten percent this year.
"It's an example of one of our great towns in east Tennessee that's really been struggling over the years," Ethiel Garlington from the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance said referring to Lenoir City.
Garlington said a declining downtown is happening across the country.
Garlington said it's in part because of interstates and new highways redirecting traffic away from the downtown area.
"What we'd like to see is more focus back on the original historic downtowns," Garlington said.
The list of endangered heritage in East Tennessee also includes Morristown College in Hamblen County, Brushy Mountain State Correctional Complex in Morgan County and cemeteries across the region.