After 224 Years In Business, America's Oldest Store Is Saying Goodbye

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posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 11:50 AM
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www.businessinsider.com...


Gray's Store in Adamsville village brought in customers for years with its old-fashioned marble soda fountain, cigar and tobacco cases, and Rhode Island johnny cakes.

The 224-year-old business may be the oldest operating general store in America, although others have staked similar claims. The Rhode Island store near the Massachusetts line opened in 1788. Now owners say this year is its last.

Gray's is set to close Sunday afternoon.

Owner Jonah Waite inherited the shop after his father died of cancer last month. He said Saturday it was a hard decision to close the store and leave behind all the history, but the shop's finances aren't sustainable and a supermarket down the street has siphoned away business.




I think the closing of this store is one of the final signs that small business owners just can no longer compete with large corporate chains, and our future is doomed to be run by those who don't care about our communities, and are only in the business to make a profit.

For over two hundred years this business has operated and served the needs of the local community. It's heartbreaking that the community that it supported no longer feels the need to purchase their supplies from such a historically important market.

This is just another case where stores such as Wal-Mart are corporate vampires sucking the life out of our country.



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posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 12:10 PM
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reply to post by isyeye
 


We are witnessing what is the natural end of a capitalist society as we transition into full blown corporatism and thinly veiled monopolies that control every aspect of life in the country. Mega corporations already own an extremely high percentage of the market share of every industry thinkable.

"Small business" is a thing of the past, now.

And careful what you say about Walmart, remember "corporations are people" and have constitutional rights! You may be guilty of a "hate crime" if you call them names!
edit on 7/30/2012 by CaticusMaximus because: (no reason given)


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posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 12:16 PM
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just another result of people thinking with their wallets instead of their morals.

Will all buy the cheep breakable lead filled goods made in China from Walmart, and than bitch about why the Unemployment is so high...



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 12:20 PM
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I hope they are able to preserve the building with the Historical society. I would love to visit. Imagine, sitting in the same spot someone sat in two hundred years ago! What an incredible privilege.

Perhaps there's some way to market the store based on its history. I mean, it can't compete with a chain store in selling mass merchandise, but it could compete as a living museum of sorts. Or turn it into a bed and breakfast, I'd love to stay in a place with such rich history.

And dare I say it....surely such an old building has its ghostly tales. Spread the word the place is haunted and it's a guaranteed draw. Waverly Hills Sanitorium has paid tours and ghost hunts.

Think outside the box.....



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 12:45 PM
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I hate hearing about these storys. It sucks when your family business goes under.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 12:47 PM
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Originally posted by smyleegrl
I hope they are able to preserve the building with the Historical society. I would love to visit. Imagine, sitting in the same spot someone sat in two hundred years ago! What an incredible privilege.

Perhaps there's some way to market the store based on its history. I mean, it can't compete with a chain store in selling mass merchandise, but it could compete as a living museum of sorts. Or turn it into a bed and breakfast, I'd love to stay in a place with such rich history.

And dare I say it....surely such an old building has its ghostly tales. Spread the word the place is haunted and it's a guaranteed draw. Waverly Hills Sanitorium has paid tours and ghost hunts.

Think outside the box.....


nope, its going to be bulldozed to put in a nice parking lot and a large box store like K-mart.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 01:37 PM
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Except it's the general populace who are to blame for this. Yes, there are other factors but the biggest and most important one is if you don't want businesses like these to go out of business, you shop at their fine establishments. People just don't care enough. They'd rather buy something cheap and inferior and their local big box store because it's "easier" and "convenient".



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 01:54 PM
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Originally posted by conspiracy88
Except it's the general populace who are to blame for this. Yes, there are other factors but the biggest and most important one is if you don't want businesses like these to go out of business, you shop at their fine establishments. People just don't care enough. They'd rather buy something cheap and inferior and their local big box store because it's "easier" and "convenient".


Right on. Before we blame some nefarious powers that be, let's just realize it's ultimately the choice that most people make, to shop at big box stores.

And you know what? It makes sense. There has always being that "economy of scale", in absolutely any business. Some time ago, milk was produced at small local farms. Gone are these days. Same applies to shoe making, and a myriad of other things. I am willing to pay more for local produce and do so when I have an opportunity, but face it, small stores will never be able to match selection and pricing of large establishments. And I'd wasting gas and a lot of time while driving to 5 different places just to fulfill my shopping list.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 01:58 PM
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I HATE seeing this kind of thing.

There must be some way for them to stay profitable....

Big box stores moving in to small areas always seem to have this affect on small business, however I don't think it necessarily has to spell the end for all of them.

It just means you have to re-evaluate and restructure to some degree.

Big box stores = quantity over quality. They have a lot of stuff because it's cheap to buy for them and therefore cheap to buy for the customer.

The answer to that might be to specialize.

The article mentioned tobacco products. There is a huge kick happening right now with regards to all kinds of organic tobacco products.
That is one product you're not likely to find at your bigass generic supermarket.

They also mentioned old style sodas? = another non-generic specialty item. The key for them is to find enough of these types of products to keep them viable as a business.

After 224 years in the same area, surely they know their own demographic. Find out what the locals can't get at the superstore and sell it at yours...

Also, nobody goes to a superstore to socialize. So take that and run with it. Add a coffee / sandwhich bar (or something to that end) to part of your store. Add a seating area.
Add a seating area to the outside as well.

Spice up the look of the place. Just because it's 224 years old doesn't mean it has to look like it. Fresh paint can go a long way... how about some greenery out front. Big plant arrangements in something rustic like old cedar whisky barrels, etc.. something to catch your eye on your drive by.
It's like selling a house - CURB APPEAL!

While you're at it, how about the biggest American Flag you can find, hang it dead center over the entrance so it just touches everyone while they walk up... you know just as a reminder of what America was once and SHOULD BE STILL.

.... just a vent and some ideas... from a Canadian who hates big box stores. It doesn't have to spell the end. It actually could open your business up in a whole new way - you just have to see it.


edit on 30-7-2012 by HIWATT because: spelling
edit on 30-7-2012 by HIWATT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 02:22 PM
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I love those old general stores. When I ride down the back roads, I see the remains of them, decrepit and wind battered, no sign hanging out front, weed infested concrete where a gas pump might have once been....faded paintings of Pepsi cola on the side of the chipped wooden building. Front porch sagging and littered with debris.

I am just surprised this one lasted as long as it did, that is a testament to the people of that community, they keep it local a lot longer than the area I am in. I am sure it was mostly the older folks who bought from that store and as the older folks died out, the younger ones just didn't care to shop there.

The biggest problem for stores like this one is the mindset of the community. If the community wants big box, then big box will win. If the community values and treasures it's mom and pops they will stay afloat. Also, it is about money.....mom and pop has to offer their goods at a competive price. In some areas, it is more cost effective to drive an hour to get to Walmart than it is to stay in town and pay higher prices at mom and pop places.

In Germany towns still have a main shopping street, usually closed off to traffic. You walk outside from shop to shop, resturant to resturant, with eye doctors and law firms and real estate offices blended in, and you window shop, stop at the bakery, and pick up what you need.....before you know it you've spent hours walking, taking in the air and stopping along the way and chatting with neighbors......that is community.

But even in Germany, we have seen growth in big box stores, so I am sure it is just a matter of time before that gets lost as well. We are slowly loosing our connections to each other, in the future the only connection that will matter will be our virtual Internet connections.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 02:28 PM
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It's a shame.

It's happening in the UK too. Small, independent businesses being replaced with chain stores, chain coffee houses, chain bars etc, usually foreign owned.

Very few people seem to care.

In 20 years, every city and town in the Western world will look the same. Disgusting.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 03:06 PM
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OK, while I will agree there are cooperations doing alot of damage, I want to give you a dose of reality...

I do not believe for one minute that cooperations are a bad thing.. It is when they become publicly traded that they become a bad thing...Wall street is the problem, not the cooperation...

You see tons of bitching about wal-mart and other cooperations pay rates, and benefits.... In reality, their pay and benefits are far greater than any mom and pop business can afford, or would be willing to give if they could afford...

I see talks about inferior products... Yes, manufacturing bases are making cheaper products... Wal-Mart, and let say Joe Blows Discount Grocery sell pretty much the same thing... Same manufactures... In fact, it could be argued that since a bigger store like wal-mart sells the food faster, that it is healthier.. I cannot tell you how many times i have gone to mom and pop type grocery stores and the meat looked like it went bad a week ago...

Same goes for best buys and joe blows electronics.. THEY SELL THE SAME PRODUCT... Best Buys employees are offered health insurance where some of the cost is off set by the best buys... Do you think Joe Blow is going to pay your health insurance??? Joe Blow is also going to on average pay you a few dollars less an hour...

Now, lets look at overhead... What cost more for the operators, a huge big box store with 20 foot high ceiling, running ac all summer, running literally 100s of 400w hid light bulbs around the clock, paying employees, providing benefits, upkeep of a huge parking lot etc... Or a mom and pop business that with 10 foot high ceilings, a small parking lot, fewer employees that make less and usually get zero benefits...

Obviously, it cost loads more to run a big box store...

My question is, why is that mom and pop store are not competing.. They are not even trying for the most part. This is the main reason for failure...

True, big box stores have more buying power and the initial cost to the cooperation is cheaper than what a mom and pop store can get, however, is it really cheaper??? For wal-mart to have its buying power, it must set up its own warehouses to store the masses of products they buy... This puts even more people on the pay roll.. More real estate, trucks, truck drivers, etc... Do they really get the products they sell cheaper??? Think about it...

I see opportunities everywhere for people with money to invest, however, I have no money to invest...

For a smaller business to thrive, they have to be offering something that the large companies cannot... Most small companies are not willing to take a chance and do this.. They want to mimic the box box stores, and sell the same crap, at a higher price, then blame big box stores (and their community) when they fail...

As for this store in this thread... The OWNER DIED a month ago.. Left it to a son, and the son doesn't have the time or interest to run it... They were not put out of business by a big box store, they were put out of business by a new owner that doesn't have the time and/or interest for it... Probably wanted nothing to do with it in the first place and it was a burden to him...

Stating that small businesses cannot possibly compete with big box stores is a complete cop out... Its a myth... In fact, if small business owners put forth the effort, I think it is the other way around...

Small businesses are dying by not adapting to a changing climate...



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 03:12 PM
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reply to post by isyeye
 



AND...

Coming soon:

Typical dime a dozen Strip Mall and Walmart



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 07:03 PM
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thats sad... a general store nearly as old as america (since the revolution not counting pre-revolution) closing its doors .. another sign the old america is dead the remnants dying.... pity they cant preserve it as a historical landmark ...



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 07:21 PM
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A friend of mine is in a similar situation. He owns a medium sized health food grocery, sells local organic produce, specialty products and herbal supplements. This store has been open for over 20 years and is the only store like it for 15 miles. In 4 months, Whole Foods is opening a store 10 miles away, and in 7 months Trader Joe's is opening a store 5 miles away. The only thing that stands in my friend's way of staying competitive is distributor discounts. Even after 20 years of buying from his 2 major distributors, they still refuse to give him discounts even remotely close to what they give these huge chain stores, thus assuring the demise of his business. He gets 5% dicounts from distributors, while a store like Whole Foods will get a 15-20% discount across the board for buying huge amounts of goods and storing them in their own warehouse. His only option is to lower his margins to ridiculously low levels, like around 5-10% markup, to stay competitive, and even that is no guarantee. Its not going to be pretty, whatever happens.

The other problem is tax breaks from the government, of course. No tax breaks for a small business, and almost no taxes for larger businesses. Its a grim situation, and it will only get worse as corporations take over more and more, until they are the only things left to cannibalize each other. I wish I was unable to envision what things will look like in 20-30 years, but I can, and its sad to say the least.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 07:35 PM
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Inherited the store only one Month ago and now selling it?

Perhaps sonny boy is broke and needs some cash instead of a life running a general store?

Over 200 years and after ONE Month of ownership it's not viable and he sells? hmmmm.

Even with a bigger business down the road it's still possible to survive. Take out the soda fountain, put in a gelato machine, stop the johnny cakes and bring in specialty cupcakes...be original because that big box store can't do everything and many people still want the personal touch.

Nope, I believe the property value was the motivator here. Nice paycheck to end a legacy.

One Month? He didn't even try.

Peace


edit on 30-7-2012 by jude11 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 08:16 PM
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I wonder when people will start to realize that the entire planet is one giant shopping mall. The more money you have the happier you are. We live in a world that only cares about money, and it is the only thing that matters. I live in canada, and no matter where I go, there are new strip malls, megastores, shopping malls, mini marts, and whatever else you can think of being built all over the place. The problem is, they are all the same stores. Each town has a walmart, a mcdonalds, a home depot, a futureshop / best buy/ its all the same, its boring, and there is no variety. The people working there aren't happy to see you, they are just doing their job. In a local business, they are happy to see you, you have interesting conversations, and the mood is overall happier. However, the root cause of the entire problem, is money. When are we going to wake up and realize that we are trading pieces of paper for goods and services? Seriously, if aliens were watching us, they would be laughing their asses off at the guy selling food, for a piece of paper with a number on it. It's a giant game of monopoly that we believe we are all forced to play. There are better ways to live, the monetary system is not the only way, and sooner or later, the world is going to fall into such a desperate state that people will have to stand up for themselves. The question then, will be, is it too late?

The planet cannot sustain this system. Genetically modified foods for profit? Since when was nature not enough? A health care system that hasn't found a cure since 1954? A system that we are supposed to rely on and believe? When the cure for disease is so obvious.....They have been collecting research money for the last 60 years and they haven't found a single cure.... hello people.... wake up...... they will never create a cure because it would lose them too much profit. Cancer is a trillion dollar a year industry, I'm sure they're just aching for that cure to come out. Imagine what people will do when they realize that the cure was sitting in nature all along. Imagine what people will do when they realize they just needed more oxygen in their blood. Or when we realize that inside the pits of fruits contains a seed that cures cancer and keeps you healthy. But people will never learn these things because the monopolies have already brainwashed us into believing that anything outside of what they sell is bad for us. If its not FDA approved, move along, its a fraud, quackery, and dangerous. And people fall for this fear that they inject into us. We live our lives afraid of the big bad wolf that doesn't exist.

We fall into a routine of fear, and allow the government to take away our rights in order to gain some sort of content, but haven't you noticed they always remind you of that fear? The fear is never solved, its always there in the background in case you decide to stray from what they tell you. Wake up people, the only fear you have, is what has been given to you. The more we allow the corporations to take over, the more fear they will spread into our lives. People working 9-5 jobs for pennies with inflation going up yearly, raising the cost of living and expecting the people to keep on paying, and they will because they will use the fear of the economy crashing.... You're lucky to have a job.... you're lucky to be a slave..... don't be an unemployed loser, work at mcdonalds they're hiring. Don't go to college, because then you will need a loan, which you will be paying back for the rest of your life from the mcdonalds job because the area you wanted to get in has already been flooded with people. But if you do go to college, remember to learn from only the books they tell you about, dont learn or believe or experiment in anything other than what you are taught. Wouldn't want anyone thinking outside the box. As long as we keep fighting to remain in our own prison, we will never be free.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 09:20 PM
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As said with all above posts, I have to add...

Big box monopoly almost everything - OK
Small shop cant compete closed - OK
New small shop cannot open due to competition - Not OK

Remember Wall-E ? Buy n Large seems to be the future.
Yep, its no fun to buy at BnL, you cant gossip much...at all!



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 09:44 PM
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At the small town grocery store I work for, the prices are higher than the Walmart the next town over. The owner can't compete with the prices, so he fights back with excellent customer service. We offer home delivery to those who need it, house charge accounts for local businesses and organizations (and a few customers who are known to be trustworthy), and grocery carry out. All the things the big guys fail to give anymore, even though most of them were founded on the principle of great customer service.

Our boss calls us "customer caregivers" and we wear shirts that refer to us as such. He is awesome to work for, as he runs his business the way his father before him did., by the golden rule.

It is sad how hard it is for a small business owner to keep their doors open. I've heard my boss working with customers looking for items we don't carry. He does everything he can to get what they are looking for, and he kindly explains what he needs to do to get the item so that they can understand what is going on for small business. He usually has to call a larger grocery store and ask if they can order what he needs. Then he pays for what he needs for our store, and the bigger store keeps the rest to sell themselves. He has to do this because many suppliers won't do business with small stores that aren't placing large orders anymore. What a shame. It's getting harder and harder for the little guys.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 09:45 PM
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Originally posted by jude11
Inherited the store only one Month ago and now selling it?

Perhaps sonny boy is broke and needs some cash instead of a life running a general store?

Over 200 years and after ONE Month of ownership it's not viable and he sells? hmmmm.

Even with a bigger business down the road it's still possible to survive. Take out the soda fountain, put in a gelato machine, stop the johnny cakes and bring in specialty cupcakes...be original because that big box store can't do everything and many people still want the personal touch.

Nope, I believe the property value was the motivator here. Nice paycheck to end a legacy.

One Month? He didn't even try.

Peace


edit on 30-7-2012 by jude11 because: (no reason given)



Yeah I totally agree. This guy didn't even try. He is insulting his father, his grandfather, his greatgrandfather, all 7 generations of his family by doing this.


Waite, 21, who will be a senior at the University of Hartford in Connecticut in the fall, also is consumed with pursuing a career in sports journalism.


This kid was given a gift, a fully functioning convenience store with gimmicks to play off of! He could have done so much to revive this shop, but instead he would rather do one of the lowest forms of writing: sports "journalism". COME ON. There isn't even any creativity in that, it's just reporting numbers!!

The kid, like most of the other youth in this country, was looking for a quick payout. "Oh my dad died, how can I cash in on this?" Pathetic. I'm 21 as well and my father also has lung cancer, the last thing I would do is sell off everything he and his father held dear to him, I would want to keep those memories and keep them alive. What a dunce.

Kids these days....





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