America’s oldest general store,opened one year before George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States,has shut down after serving the community for 224 years.
Gray’s Store in the small village of Adamsville in Rhode Island opened in 1788,selling penny candy,cigars and a small selection of groceries,as well as antiques and collectible knickknacks.
Since 1879,the business has been owned by the Waite family.
A large crowd gathered outside the store yesterday morning to say goodbye to the business on its final day of operation,heraldnews.com reported.
21-year-old journalism student Jonah Waite inherited the shop after his father,Grayton Waite died of cancer last month at the age of 59.
Jonah is not interested in running the family business and decided to close up shop.
“My dad and I have talked pretty extensively over the years,” heraldnews.com quoted Jonah as saying.
“He knew it wasn’t something I intended to take over and operate. His intention was to sell it in the next couple of years and fully retire. He didn’t have time to do that.”
In 2007,US Senator Jack Reed and then-Governor Donald Carcieri issued proclamations naming Gray’s as the oldest continuously run general store in the country.
“Up until about five years ago my dad and I prided ourselves on it still being sold for a penny,” said Jonah.
“Now with inflation it’s about five cents. We’ve always had candy,cigar customers. There are certain things that my dad has maintained.”
Jonah says he is undecided what he will do with the property which includes his family home that connects to the rear of the store.