After 15 years the Rusty Rudder, a local landmark, is forced to close its doors

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After 15 years, a local landmark on Lake Norman is closing it's doors. The Rusty Rudder, Lake Norman Restaurant & Bar, will be closing on October 3.

According to the owners, the current landlord company told them near the end of August, they would not be renewing the lease. It came as a shock to the owners, the staff and the community.

"This is a landmark. The Rusty Rudder is the place to be during the summer. No other place can touch it and this definitely something that is going to be hard for everyone in this community to let go," Jessica Espinosa said. 

"I don't think you can duplicate something like this. It has been here too long and I don't think we will be able to get it back no matter what they turn this into. It will always fall short of what the Rudder is now," Eric Robinson said. 

"Everybody has a story from the Rudder. It never fails. There are crazy stories, there are happy love stories. People had their weddings here. It is insane," Cecilia Thompson explained. 

There is no question just what the Rusty Rudder means to the community, but after spending sometime there, you know just how much it means to those who work there.

"We are still in shock. A lot of tears, a lot of hugs. You know we see each other everyday; thinking of that coming to a halt is a tough pill to swallow," Sean Mangrum said, who works at the Rusty Rudder.

"Here you are welcome with open arms no matter what you are wearing, who you are, what you look like. It is crazy that this place has so much heart and they want to close it down," Cecilia Thompson said. 

As for the landlord, FOX 46 Charlotte reached out to the corporation and there was no immediate response.  Also, some patrons of the Rudder have begun a petition to save the landmark.