It's been in existence for 180 years, but this week marks the end of an era for the Barnard General Store.
The Barnard General Store has sat at the crossroads of the small town since Andrew Jackson was president.
"It's the community center. You come to find out what's going on. You come to see how people are doing," said Hope Gouvin-Moffat, a regular customer.
The store has hosted many functions throughout the years and delivers lunch to the school children every Thursday. But now store co-owner Kim Furlong says they find themselves at a crossroads and that it's time to say goodbye. "Heartbroken because the store is closing its doors -- which we never wanted to have happen. We had hoped we could transition to somebody, but we financially can't do it anymore," she said.
The owners attribute the lackluster tourist season post Irene and the warm winter as the straw that broke the camels back. But many who frequent the cafe/grocery store/movie rental/ice cream window/community bulletin board -- that make up the general store, are not quite ready to say so long.
"The minute that I came in here, I knew right away that this is a special place and a special town and it just worked out," said Eileen Vaughn, who along with her husband, Randal, moved to Vermont nine years ago. They say they chose to make a home in Barnard because they fell in love with the store. They shop here so often Randal even has a pizza named after him.
"The Randal Pizza is a pizza with no cheese, but its got double the sauce and onions and ham and green peppers on it," said its namesake.
And throughout Barnard, there are many with similar stories -- people who have been touched by the general store's generosity for generations, and now they are coming together to try to find a way to keep the store up and running even after the owners bow out.
"Having this place to gather is really important," said Chloe Powell, a former employee at the store.
Powell's first job as a teen was as a baker, and now as an adult, she says she depends on the store's free WI-FI to do her job. She says she doesn't believe this is the end. "I know there's a lot of fear that it's going to close, but there is such a will in the community and such a need in the community for this as a gathering place and as a place to buy our food that we're going to figure out how to make it happen," she said.
And for co-owner Kim Furlong, though they're closing the doors, they're not emptying out the store after Tuesday, in hopes that one day someone else can open the shop right back up the way it was left.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:41 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:41:56 GMT
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