Thirty years are coming to a close for Jane Hartz and June's Hallmark.
One of the most beloved stores in Big John's Plaza, if not all of the city, is closing its doors on March 31, and with it Hartz will be closing out a wildly successful and indelible chapter in her life.
"It's not bittersweet at all," she said of the store's closing. "I'm excited about getting out."
The ladies of June’s Hallmark help out longtime customer Ursula Babucke wrap her package Thursday. From left are, Jane Hartz, Ursula Babucke, Carolyn Slater and Ruth Eytheson in the rear.
Along with her husband Mark, the Hartzes bought the store in February 1980, a time when there was a mere 37,000 people living in Cape Coral.
The store had been around for more than a decade prior, known as Quality Card Shop and then June's Quality Card Shop, before being purchased by Mark and Jane.
In those early days, Jane said the city emptied out in the summer, a challenge the store survived by printing personalized cards and selling them in bulk, giving companies discounts if they purchased their cards during the summer months.
As the years passed, the city grew, as did the store's clientele.
Hartz said she'll miss the customers most of all, most of which she knows on a first-name basis, some she's known for the majority of her three decades with the store.
As word spread throughout the customer base of the store's closing, she said it was almost as if most were in mourning.
It's that devotion, and passion, Hartz said, that has kept the store going.
"It's been a joy to work with these customers, and we've had the best," she said. "Their loyal, considerate ... its heartwarming."
Mark Hartz passed away four years ago, not long after Hurricane Charley laid the store to waste.
Of course, the store was rebuilt and lived on, but Jane said she's been thinking of making her exit for some time.
There won't be a problem filling the abundance of free time, said Hartz, who's looking forward to living what she described as a "normal person."
There's golf, travel, gourmet cooking, even a sports car in Hartz's self-described future "bucket list."
But there's also family, and holidays, something she's missed out on over the years.
"I have not had Christmas with my kids on 30 years," she said. "I'm so excited about that ... there's grandkids, great-grandkids."
Hartz also gave credit to her employees, most of whom are ladies that have been with the store for years.
Hartz described the sales staff as an extended family, one that has slowly been adjusting to the idea of the store shutting down.
"It was a shock ... they've been here for years. I've had such loyal salespeople. They're more like a family and that's the way it should be," she said.
Forty percent off sale signs and "store closing" banners adorned both front and back entrances to the store Thursday.
There was still a steady flow of customers, many coming back again and again scooping up great bargains. Others simply coming by one last time to share a smile, a laugh, even a memory with Hartz and her staff.
Ursula Babucke, a customer of the store since 1992, was doing just that, picking up keepsakes for her shelves at home.
Babucke said she was simply shocked when she learned the store would be closing down.
"Everything in my house is from June's Hallmark," Babucke said.