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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 8, August 2012, Posted On: 7/30/2012

Nation's Oldest Store Closes Doors After 2 Centuries

Hank Schlesinger
TAGS: vending, bulk vending, Gray's Store, Adamsville Rhode Island, oldest general store in America, Grayton Waite

ADAMSVILLE VILLAGE, RI -- Some bulk vending operator might have lost a special location. Gray's Store in the tiny hamlet of Adamsville village near Little Compton, RI, is reputed to have been the oldest operating general store in America.

Opening its doors in 1788, the establishment was in business some 224 years. In 2007, this fact was recognized by Sen. Jack Reed and former Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri, who issued proclamations naming Gray's as the oldest continuously run general store in the country.

The end for the store came when its owner, Grayton Waite, 59, died on June 11. The business was inherited by his son, Jonah Waite, 21, a student at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. According to Waite, the store, which had been in his family since 1879, is no longer profitable.

Gray's Store closed on July 29.

Gray's General Store

Photo: Gray's Store, the nation's oldest general store, closed on July 29 after two centuries in business. The death of its owner and the current difficult economy led to the establishment's demise.

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