Poole's General Store to Close in Montgomery County

Thursday, Dec 16, 2010  |  Updated 7:15 PM EDT
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A famous <a title=Maryland general store is closing for good." />

Chris Gordon

A famous Maryland general store is closing for good.

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The family that gave Poolesville, Md., its name will close the doors of their 45-year-old family business this January.

Billie Poole and her husband Raymond have spent most of their lives selling farm fresh eggs, preserves, and other sundries to Montgomery County farmers.

"Its been wonderful," Billie Poole said.  "We don't have customers, we have friends."

Economic hard times made it difficult for the Pooles to continue to extend credit for its goods, and the business has slowed considerably.

"Its sort of when old time business run into modern realities of credit and not paying their bills," said Bill Allnutt, a friend of the family and a local farmer.

The Poole's roots run deep in this county.  They were here in 1972 when Hurrican Agnes swelled nearby Seneca Creek and flooded the store.  After the flood, the Montgomery County Department of Parks bought the property and rented the store to the Pooles.  That lease will run out Dec. 31.

Although a petition was started for "the Continuted operation of Poole's store," the family itself seems resigned to end this chapter of their lives.  Outside the store, staff threw old business records into a fire.

The county is hoping to find a new tenant to move in to the commercial property.  It is unclear what will come next, but the era of locals gathering for hot soup and chili made by the Pooles will end this month.

"I've been here for quite a while and I've enjoyed all of it," 84-year-old Raymond Poole said.  "I hate to leave it. Every good thing comes to an end they say, so this is it."

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