Evansville, Ind. (WEHT) After a 46-year-ride, Emge’s Deli and Diner is saying goodbye. The diner told customers in a Facebook post, saying they were not able to recover from the pandemic. In order to stay in business, owners say they would have to raise prices so high, they would not be able to compete.

“You know, when you start making a sandwich, and the bread costs over a dollar for just the bread, it is getting to where it’s just not feasible. You just cannot do it. Nobody wants to pay $12 for a turkey sandwich,” says Bob Casey, the father of one of the owners, Tracie Jones.

Jan Howell and her husband, Tom bought the business in October 1975 from Vic Emge.  In 1995, they moved to Main Street. Tracie Jones became the owner in 2018. The deli moved from Main Street to First Avenue in 2021. Casey says moving locations was a big change.

“It was a big difference because of the hours. They were staying open until 6:00. People were coming through and getting plate lunches and dinners until 6:00. So, it almost doubled their business from downtown,” he says.

Then the pandemic hit, and prices skyrocketed, creating the perfect storm.

“You get the two combined, and it’s just something a small business like this can’t fight,” he says.

The decision to close was not easy.

“It is a hard thing to do. It took a lot of concentration. There is a lot of guilt feeling for the employees,” Casey says.

Customers like Marcia Minton came in for one last lunch. She has been dining with Emge’s since 2006, when they were still located on Main Street.

“Oh I am just devastated, for both Tracie and Jan, and for the gals that work here. And for all of us who are accustomed to getting good food and service from Emge’s over the years,” she says.

“I just want to thank everybody for all the years,” Casey says

Emge’s Deli and Diner’s last day is Wednesday.