Oldest general store closes after 224 years - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Oldest general store closes after 224 years

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Andrea Medeiros

amedeiros@abc6.com

The oldest general store in the country is in our backyard and this weekend it's closing its doors for good. It's very emotional for the family that's run it in Adamsville for six generations.

Jonah Waite autographed a post card, Friday, for one of his family's customers on the last weekend their 224 year old store will be open.

Jonah is the seventh in line to run "Gray's Store" in Adamsville. It's a landmark in this part of Little Compton.

"This was the local business," said Jonah, "This was the place that you would come to get your groceries, and there wasn't any real other competition."

But now there's plenty of competition and not a lot of customers coming into America's oldest continuously running general store.

Since they announced the historic store is closing, about a hundred people have been in there each day. That's about ten times more than they're used to. They're either picking up collectibles or just coming in for the memories.

"I was kind of sad, kind of sad because I've been coming here for a long time and all the old things, it's just unique," said customer Bruce Walker.

"I was very saddened, because when I was a child my mother and father used to come here all the time to get the Vermont Cheddar Cheese," said customer Candace Cottrell.

It's sad for Jonah too. After all he grew up here, living with his parents in a home out back. His tough choice to close this place comes after his father's death last month from cancer.

"He'd be pretty ecstatic, because this would be the most business he got all year, but he would be proud of the way that I'm handling things," said Jonah.

The store will shut down Sunday. Coincidentally that's Jonah's dad, Grayton Waite's, birthday. There are no plans as to what'll happen to the historic building.

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