By Dillon Thomas

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – The founder of the iconic Colorado dining institution White Fence Farm told CBS4 he was heartbroken to learn his old business was closing its doors.

White Fence Farm (credit: CBS)

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“I am deeply saddened that this happened. But, I am grateful that we were able, through the years, to create memories for those in the Denver area,” Wilson said. “I hope they will hold on to those memories.”

Wilson once lived on the farm, which is located along West Jewell Avenue in Lakewood. His grandparents purchased it after World War II.

“I grew up on the farm, and have many happy memories of playing on the farm,” Wilson said. “A lot has changed in Denver since I was a young boy.”

(credit: CBS)

Charlie Wilson told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas he recently learned the company that purchased White Fence Farm in 2014 was closing the restaurant’s doors by the end of 2018.

Signs on the company’s property boast of its 45 year history, and serving more than 5 million chicken dinners since opening.

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The announcement of the closure took many by shock, including Wilson. Some took to social media to express their disappointment in the closure, while sharing memories of playing and eating on the property.

(credit: CBS)

“It was always a big family outing to come (to White Fence Farm), because you spent hours. It wasn’t just the meal,” said Amy Jackson, a regular visitor. “I was really sad this morning, when i saw that it was closing.”

Jackson was 3 years old when the restaurant opened, and visiting became a tradition.

“(We visited) at least once a year. For holidays, or special birthdays, or when my grandmother was still alive, she loved to come here,” Jackson said.

While Wilson wouldn’t comment further on the business details of the company’s closure, he did tell CBS4 he understood the reasoning for a company being forced in to closing.

“I do realize change happens, and things can’t stay as they were,” Wilson said. “We have to move on.”

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Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.