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November 12. 2012 7:53PM

Mont Vernon general store closes up shop

MONT VERNON - Less than a year after the town's general store reopened under new ownership and a new vision, Fishbones General Store announced it will be shutting its doors on Wednesday.

Owner Kristin O'Brien confirmed Monday that the store at 10 N. Main St. is closing, but declined to comment on the reasoning behind her decision.

"No one is more upset than I am," O'Brien said, refusing to answer questions about the abrupt closure of the landmark shop in the center of town.

O'Brien previously restored the building to its former glory, opening it at the beginning of the year following months of renovations. O'Brien, of Townsend, Mass., along with her husband, Bill Croteau, spent more than $200,000 to refurbish the former Mont Vernon General Store after purchasing the historic building for about $72,500.

"It is with great regret that I tell you all the general store will be closing on (Nov.) 14th," says a posting on the store's Facebook page. " . I love you all. Thank you so much for your support. I feel very blessed to have gotten to know so many wonderful people, and I will keep in touch."

Dozens of patrons posted comments on the social media site about the store's closure, some of them asking what can be done to keep the store - the hub of this small community - in operation and thriving.

"Is there any way for you to stay open? It always takes at least two to three years for a shop to start making it," wrote Joan Dargie.

Another patron, June Hoar, wrote: "Sorry Kristin. You tried so hard and turned an old, run down building into a beautiful store. Hope you will be able to sell it and move on to your next great adventure."

In the past few weeks, O'Brien had offered free coffee to area firefighters and police officers at her store, while also providing sandwiches at half off for linemen working to restore electricity during the recent storm.

O'Brien encouraged customers to come in and say goodbye, while also enjoying great deals on leftover items.

"Final closing. Everything is being sold at a discount," says a Facebook posting, asking residents to stock their pantries for Thanksgiving. The general store was closed for about two years before O'Brien reopened it in January, saying at the time that she was instantly captivated by the charming building with a lot of potential. At the time, O'Brien said she was lucky to be a part of this important project.

"We are so fortunate to be able to do this for the town of Mont Vernon," she said shortly after the opening. The store had been renamed and refurbished to maintain its historical period and cultural significance, keeping the tin ceilings and hickory floors. The custom-made candy counter had become a popular enticement for children and the young at heart.

khoughton@newstote.com



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