After 21 years, the sun is about to set on the Tannery in Old Fort.

Located at 56 Branson Creek Road, the Tannery/Body Shop is going out of business. Owners Jody McGinnis and her husband Rex have decided it is time to retire and close up the tanning booths and exercise equipment.

“We are ready to retire,” said Jody McGinnis. “I’ve had a lot of people tell me they are sorry to see this happen. There’s been a lot of tears already.”

Started in 1997, The Tannery was a dream of Jody’s. She had the idea to open it up and Rex got to work building the structure for it and installing the electrical and plumbing systems.

Located off Moffitt Hill Church Road, the Tannery has six tanning beds and one sun capsule, which is used for standing as you get a tan. The back part of the building is fitness center called the Body Shop, where you can use a treadmill, lift weights and work out on all kinds of exercise equipment.

“I’ve had tanning inspectors come here from Raleigh,” said Jody. They said this is the cleanest, most well run and nicest tanning salon in western North Carolina.”

In addition, the business has offered spray tanning.

For many years, the place has lived up to its motto: “The sun always shines at the Tannery.” That statement not only applies to the building and its equipment but the people who run it as well.

“It’s a family,” said Jody. “Everybody feels comfortable here. They come and sit and talk. We have an extremely friendly staff.”

The manager for the Body Shop for 16 years has been Darren McGinnis. Jody also wanted to acknowledge three long-time employees: Elaine Watson, Vickie Angel and Barbara Vess. All three are certified tanning booth operators.

Jody and Rex McGinnis said they don’t know what will happen with the building but they are looking forward to retirement.

Before the doors are closed, a customer appreciation event will be held Friday and Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m. both days. They are thanking all their loyal patrons for their business.

There will be free tanning, hot dogs, lots of food and drinks. Jody and Rex said there will also be lots of laughs and quite a few tears.

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