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