Smith's closing marks end of an era

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 8-1-01, By Mike Ferrari

``After 52 years of service to the community of Avon, Smith's Country Store is going out of business by the end of August.

AVON -- As Tim Smith walked through his store, he rattles off different stories about Smith's Country Store that spoke of nostalgia and memories.

At the end of the walk, he was led to the front of the business where two miniature shopping carts sat rusty and idle. As Smith looked down at the carts, his emotion about closing the 52-year-old business was evident.

His late mother, Anna, got the small carts so children could help their parents shop ...

"From a business standpoint, I had to do it for the estate and my parents. It had to be finished," Smith said about closing the store ...

Tim Smith owns the store, but works with his brother, Mark Smith, who will be keeping the catering portion of the business open and honoring all contracts until the pair decides what will happen with the business.

As a result of the closing, Smith said that almost everything in the store will be liquidated. Smith estimated that final closing would take place at the end of August, [2001] or by no later than Labor Day.

For over half-century, local families from all over the city saw the store grow and watched the young boys mature to where they eventually took control of the store for their parents.

It cannot be estimated on how many hungry workers stopped into the store for a hot lunch, or how many graduation parties and functions that Smith's Country Store was part of; instead, Tim hopes the community remembers his parents ...

Smith
Founder, George Francis Smith Sr. died on Sept. 13, 2000. His wife, Anna passed on a month after her husband on Oct. 12. PRESS photos by Manny Suarez

When the store opened, George Francis Smith Sr. who died on Sept. 13, 2000, operated the shop with Anna. Anna passed on a month after her husband on Oct. 12 ...

"I have watched a lot of people and little kids grow up and have families and shop here ... this was not an easy thing to do," [Smith said]

The Smiths own eight-and-a-third acres of commercial property adjacent to the store. According to Tim, he will explore his sales options with the land, but mentioned that his brother Mark could attempt to buy the store.

Smith said that he will either be looking for another job or could try to keep portions of the business open.

It's not like the Smith's are closing up and moving away, Smith said. We could take special orders for the bakery or maybe bulk orders for parties. I was thinking about cooking ribs on the weekends also.

Smith said the decision to close the store was something that he was thinking about since his parents passed away. Citing the economics and presence of larger grocery stores in the area that caused portions of the business to suffer, he was left with the daunting decision to close the business.

"There was no sense trying to make a nickel on a can of corn anymore," Smith said. "This place has a lot of memories in here ... it is part of my life, to have to say that I'm closing hurts." ''

Avon to 1974

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