Tags: Grays | general | store | closing

America's 'Oldest General Store' Closes After 224 Years

Saturday, 28 Jul 2012 06:44 PM

 

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Gray's Store in Rhode Island brought in customers for years with its old-fashioned marble soda fountain, cigar and tobacco cases, and Rhode Island johnny cakes.

The 224-year-old business in Little Compton may be the oldest operating general store in America, although others have staked similar claims. The store near the Massachusetts line opened in 1788. Now owners say this year is its last.

grays.jpg
Gray's Store was built the year before George Washington was sworn in as president. Now it is closing. (AP Photo/Gray's Store)

Gray's is set to close Sunday.

Owner Jonah Waite inherited the shop after his father died last month. He said it was a hard decision to close the store and leave behind all the history, but the shop's finances aren't sustainable and a supermarket down the street has siphoned away business.

In 2007, Rhode Island leaders proclaimed Gray's the oldest continuously run general store in the country.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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