— Ottawa Citizen (@OttawaCitizen) April 8, 2016
The Ottawa Citizen reports on the closure of The Ashton General Store:
After a century-and-a-half as the place to pick up groceries, mail and any news neighbours are willing to part with, The Ashton General Store is closing its doors.
The lease is up and won’t be renewed, says Sylvie Pignal, who owns the business, but not the building.
“I was supposed to be in the black this year,” she says. “I have to get another job in May.”
It’s not unusual to find a walker, a brace of bicycles or a couple of horses parked in front of the store. (The hitching post is still there.)
Inside, there’s a friendly cat named General, afghans and assorted handcrafts, vintage screws and nails, a shelf of second-hand books for trade, local honey and eggs, and jams and pickles made by Pignal’s mother, Dorothea Bendall, who sometimes runs the post office counter, although Sylvie retains the title of “postmistress.”
Dear friends and valued customers,
It is with great regret that we must inform you that, despite our best efforts to the contrary, the owner of the building in which our business, The Ashton General Store, is located has decided that we will have to close our doors for good on April 22nd, 2016. Somehow, the owner, the Estate of our dearly departed friend, Bill Patterson, has concluded that the value of an empty building is greater than a building containing our viable and vibrant business serving the community.
It is hard for us to express the sorrow we feel knowing that we will no longer have the privilege of greeting you in the mornings and wishing you the best day ever, or helping you deliver an important parcel for your grand-daughters’ birthday or, just chatting with a friend.
When we first bought the business in 2011, we had a vision that it should be a community space; a place where we could all gather and feel comfortable enjoying each other’s company. We and our family all regret the loss to our community more than any economic hardship we ourselves may suffer. Our thoughts are with you.
You will always be our Ashton family. We love you all!
Sincerely, Jean and Sylvie Pignal
The Goulbourn Museum posted a note on their Facebook page about the history of the store:
Very sad to hear this news. In 1841, John Sumner opened a general store at this location. He opened a post office in his store ten years later, which was one of the first rural post offices in the British colonies. In 1874 the business was sold to James Conn, who built the current structure five years later. The new building, with an ornate two-story veranda, housed a large tailor’s shop in the upstairs. The property was bought by the Jinkinson family in 1908, who rebuilt within the same stone walls after a fire. The building has been owned by many individuals over the years, including A. L. Tubman who ran the store in conjunction with his undertaking business in the 1920s.
An institution in Goulbourn Township. https://t.co/9l7ma1RmAz
— Scott Moffatt (@ScottMoffatt21) April 8, 2016
@StittsCentral Is there no mercy? Why can't quaint little towns stay that way? I feel sad. What's next/ the Ashton Pub? Nooo!
— Rick Quesnel (@UncleRickee) April 7, 2016
@StittsCentral sad news to read that Ashton General Store is forced to close …
— Claire McCartney (@claireedel) April 7, 2016