224-year-old Rhode Island general store closing

July 30, 2012 7:00:41 AM PDT
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.

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.


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