Friday, September 5, 2008

This weeks musings

People tend to pull together in times of tragedy. It seems there is just something in our nature that draws us near when things go wrong. I've seen this first hand this week.

The Hersey General Store burned early Monday morning. The building was a total loss. It was 139 years old and was the oldest operating General Store in the state of Michigan. It was one of the few buildings to survive a severe fire in the early 1900's.

Historically speaking, for the small village of Hersey, it has been a great loss. But the bigger loss has been the actual store in the here and now. Not just because we all liked to shop there, but because the owner is such a sweet and unique person. She's that rare person that sees the potential and doesn't seem to listen to the people who say "it won't work", or "you'll fail". All she sees is what might be if she tries.

It was about seven years ago when Jamie re-opened the store. It had been closed for at least two years by then. There wasn't much in Hersey at the time. There certainly wasn't anything that would make Hersey a destination that most people would visit on purpose.

The Hersey General Store under Jamie's ownership was so unique that people started to go out of their way just to see this unique little store they heard about from friends. It had a little of everything. There were, of course, the basic staple grocery items. But also ice cream, a deli counter (where you could get a fresh made sandwich that tasted like your grandma made it), gifts and home decor you could find anywhere else. There were fishing items and bait. Soda, chips and candy. But the thing that seemed to keep me coming back were the fresh baked goodies that Jamie's mom, Nancy, made. How could a cookie the size of a dinner plate be so soft at the edges and perfectly cooked in the center? And lets not forget those brownies. As someone who loves to bake, I can't even begin to come close to Nancy's wonderful brownies.

What I'm trying to say, is that the most recent incarnation of the Hersey General Store has been more than just a new owner opening the store. It was the catalyst that took a forgotten community to new heights. It reminded me, and I'm sure many others, that Hersey still has something to offer.

While the loss of the building is heartbreakingly tragic, there is still a future in Hersey and the community is pulling together to prove that now. With a bake sale next week, and a benefit planned for next month, the residents are making it known that we love Jamie and we love the General Store. We aren't going down without a fight.


Megan said...

I still can't believe it's gone... my family lives in the area and I have memories of that store since I was little... My cousins would even ask my aunt to stop there when they come to visit... I really hope they were at least able to salvage some of parts of the store...

Chicken Momma said...

Megan- been so sad for all of us. So many memories. They did save some really important things from the inside, like the counter, cooler and shelving that were original to the store.

Megan said...

My mom has been talking to folks and has heard a lot of really negative talk about Jamie. I really don't know what to think or how to feel about it anymore. I really hope that things can get resolved and the small town gossip stops. It's wearing at my mom quite a bit especially since we are related to Jamie's family. I wish extreme home makeover did public structures, because Hersey really needs it.

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