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Lifelong resident takes over store

December 18, 2011
By MIKE ZUMMO , The Leader Herald

GLEN - Mike Sowle has lived his entire life in the town, and for the past 80 years, his grandparents and his parents had shopped in the Glen Country Store.

Over the past several years, the hardly visible store has been through several owners, and earlier this year, Sowle took over ownership of perhaps the town's most community-based business and brought it back to basics.

Sowle said, under previous owner Tim Lane, the store had become more of deli, and Sowle changed it back to what he remembered it.

Article Photos

The interior of Sowle’s Country Store is shown Thursday.

The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo

"I wanted to change it back to a grocery store and a deli and make it more convenient for the people in the town," Sowle said.

Glen, which is home to about 2,000 people, doesn't have a "downtown," and the most populated section, Fultonville, is right on the border with Fonda and the town of Mohawk.

The store changed hands on a Friday, and three days later, its transformation was complete.

"Eighteen of us worked 15 hours a day for three days," Sowle said. "We repainted the exterior, rebuilt all the coolers and did it all with volunteers."

Directly adjacent to the building, Sowle had a small parking lot built next to the building so patrons won't have to park on the side of a curvy section of Route 30A. Other renovations included a full bridge out back and work was done on a snowmobile trail so snowmobilers can come up to the back of the building.

For as long as he can remember, the store was the lifeblood of the town, and it still was under previous ownership. Now, in addition, it's a general store again, offering the same choices as a Stewart's shop.

Actually, Stewart's was the model used when deciding what the store would carry.

Town residents will be able to buy their staples like milk and eggs, just as they were before, but it also added items such as dog food and additional canned goods and frozen foods.

It also caters to the town's woodland identity. For instance, the store opened early during hunting season so hunters could stop in for breakfast before heading out.

But while Sowle has updated the facility, now called Sowle's country Store, the atmosphere remains rustic. The building retains a wooded look and the Burnside stove remains in a prominent section of the building.

"We had a couple of guys playing chess by it one Friday night," Sowle said.

And although at 2 p.m. on a Thursday, the store may seem empty, the only company being a pair of state troopers, Sowle said most of the store's business is done at breakfast and lunch.

Saturday is the busiest day.

Sowle, who also is the owner of Sowle Enterprises, a tractor-trailer repair facility on Route 30A in the town, doesn't mind the added responsibility of owning the town's community business.

While he is in charge of the financials and ordering the store's merchandise, day-to-day running of the store is handled by his daughter-in-law, Nikki Herting. Working with her are Maureen Goodrich and Lyndsai Chesebro.

So, far, Sowle said, the store seems to be growing.

"I hope it lasts a long time," he said. "It all depends on what the community wants."

Mike Zummo is the business editor. He can be reached at business@leaderherald.com.

 
 

 

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