A family-run florist in Antioch with a long history has closed its doors.

After 40 years in business, the Spring Yard Florist, at 2824 Lone Tree Way, held a liquidation sale of all its equipment and inventory after closing on Christmas Eve.

"It's the end of a very popular business," said Liz Rimbault, who has helped her husband, Doug, run the business since they opened it four decades ago. "This November, my husband Doug turned 70 and declared that was enough and he didn't want to work through another Valentine's Day."

The building, which the Rimbaults owned and recently sold to an investor, used to be a drive-in restaurant.

It was vacant 40 years ago when Liz Rimbault, who worked in real estate at the time, sold it to an investor client from San Francisco.

When she and Rimbault, who had been a manager of Louis stores in Pittsburg, considered opening their own business, the property owner agreed to a lease. So they started what began as a nursery.

Six months into the lease, the property owner insisted they buy the property, "and that set us on a course of a family-run business for the last 40 years," Liz Rimbault said.

Rimbault said that over the years, her husband was a uniting force for all florists in the community.

"The other florists always knew if they ran out of something or had an emergency they could always borrow supplies from Doug, or go in on a group purchase so they could all have something special for a season if the supplier only would sell large quantity," she said.

They opened up the florist side of the business about a year after they started the nursery, but when stores like Lowe's and Home Depot began carrying nursery plants, they turned the business 100 percent florist.

While they look forward to retirement, Doug Rimbault said it's the customers that he will miss the most about running the business. And after 40 years of being open seven days a week, the couple have a lot of regulars who have expressed sadness at seeing the Spring Yard era come to a close, Liz Rimbault said.

"Although it's a well-earned closing and retirement, it's sad as it affects a number of people, she explained. "Many of our former employees have also

come by to say goodbye -- all good relationships and long time friendships."

"It's always sad when a business like this closes," said Sean Wright, president and CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce. "They've been in business for 40 years and have done a good job, but we're excited that they can move on to the next part of their life."

And after 40 years of chaotic holidays, this year's Valentine's Day -- the business' busiest -- will be different for the pair.

"As it would be the first time in 40 years we had the ability to dine out on the holiday and celebrate something besides swollen feet."