The Recorder – 161-year-old Avery’s General Store in Charlemont to close

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Published: 4/2/2022 5:09:53 PM

Modified: 4/2/2022 5:08:49 PM

CHARLEMONT — After 161 years in business, the staff of Avery’s General Store took to social media on Friday to announce its closure.

“It has been a pretty rough few years for us,” a post on the business’ Facebook page reads. “The shortages and rising costs from the pandemic paired with the overall lack of customers is just too much.”

Avery’s General Store, which opened in 1861, became an employee-owned business in March 2020, after former owners Jim and Barbara Sinclair decided they were ready to sell the store and enter retirement. At the time, employee Kenneth Hall and four fellow employees organized an online fundraiser to take over daily operations and management of the 127 Main St. store.

Reached by phone Saturday afternoon, Hall said a lack of business has driven the store to the brink. He added that the store was getting through the COVID-19 pandemic, but the extensive Route 2 reconstruction last summer may have had an impact on business.

“The biggest thing is the customer counts are down from last year and we can’t figure out why,” Hall said. “We were doing well. … By the end of the fall they dug Route 2 up so much it started to take an effect.”

Hall said the business does not have an official closing date planned yet, and the employees did order supplies for Easter shopping, but he is unsure of anything beyond that.

Hall and his fellow employees are holding out hope that there may be someone out there that is willing to throw Avery’s General Store a lifeline and buy the business to keep it running.

“We’re thinking someone may come forward and purchase the store,” Hall said. “For the town and the employees, that would be the best bet.”

With no purchase offers made as of Saturday, Hall said they made the difficult decision to announce the closure of the business. He noted this decision has been brewing “in the last five or six months.”

“We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for decades upon decades of business,” the Facebook post reads. “At this point, we really need you to come in to help us sell our inventory so we can settle some of our outstanding debts.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.

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