Just to write the words General Store evokes a bygone era - in my mind at least. There aren't that many place where you will find a genuine General Store today; a place that sells everything from milk and bread, to stamps, lamps and more; Where the owner knows your name, and your kids' names.
The small rural community of Ashton, about an hour southwest of Ottawa was lucky enough to have a General Store, for more than 150 years. A century and a half of welcoming folks from all around, selling what they needed, and providing a spot to share a coffee and a story. That all ended this week.
The Ashton General Store officially closed April 22. The reason? Well, that's not too clear - just yet. Something about a lease that wouldn't be renewed. The locals have heard the rumours. The What is true really doesn't matter, because the bottom line is that the store is closed, its owners are devastated and its regulars customers are left not knowing how the community will go on without its heart.
On Saturday, April 16th residents Ashton held a farewell gathering for Sylvie and Jean Pignel, the owners of the Ashton General Store. I made the trip to the village in order to share their emotional goodbyes.