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SAN DIEGO – After being one of the anchor stores in Horton Plaza for 31 years, Nordstrom closed its doors for good Friday evening.

The company first announced it was closing the downtown department store in June. But the reality of the closure hit employees and shoppers with sadness during the store’s last day.

Regular downtown Nordstrom customers made the best of a bad day by shopping and saying goodbye to all the employees they’ve grown to know on a first name basis.

“Some of them are transferring to other stores and some are leaving,” longtime Nordstrom shopper Joanne Astle said. “It’s a sad, depressing day that we won’t have Nordstrom downtown.”

The retailer first opened its doors in Horton Plaza in 1985. It will close them for good at 6 p.m.

The closure impacts about 180 non-seasonal employees. All of them have been given opportunities at other nearby Nordstroms and Nordstrom Rack stores if they wish to relocate.  While the closure came as a surprise for many shoppers, it wasn’t unexpected to former Nordstrom employee Kevin Taylor.

“I guess it’s not that shocking. It’s really like a tourist Nordstrom. So most people that live here go to the one at Fashion Valley,” Taylor said.

Nordstrom released this statement Friday about the closing:

“Over the past 31 years, we’ve had the opportunity to create a lot of great relationships with our customers and employees here at Horton Plaza. Closing a store is always a tough decision to make, but we’re excited to continue serving our customers at our nearby stores, just a few miles away.”

Miro Copic, professor of marketing at San Diego State University, said what big retailers are finding out is they have way too much square footage in their stores and consumers are now buying online. So retailers like Nordstrom, Macy’s and Sears are now trying to figure out how to create a better experience for consumers.

But for some shoppers, it’s more than just the shopping that brings them to the department store.

“My daughter and I come to lunch here probably once or twice a week,” customer Sylvia Castro said. “My office is right across the street and we’ve been coming here for a long time and it’s going to be pretty sad that it’s closing down today.”

Copic said the store’s closing will impact the remaining stores in the mall. It will also the impact all the brands within the store that now have to figure out a way to make up for lost sales, he said.