Thanks to successful fundraising campaign, Avery’s General Store in Charlemont becomes employee-owned

  • Avery’s General Store at 127 Main St. in Charlemont. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Well-stocked shelves at Avery’s General Store in Charlemont. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Rowe resident Julie Shippee is checked out by Elizabeth Van Iderstine at Avery’s General Store in Charlemont. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 4/2/2020 1:37:21 PM
Modified: 4/2/2020 1:37:11 PM

CHARLEMONT — Thanks in part to a loan provided by a local family and in part to community donations, Avery’s General Store will remain open as an employee-owned business, according to employee Kenneth Hall.

“We’re so pleased and grateful for all the community support we received,” he said. “With everything going on — where nobody is too sure what’s going to happen — we got enough support from the community.”

Employees officially took over management and daily operations of the store on Monday.

Preparations for this transition began after former owners Jim and Barbara Sinclair decided last year they were ready to sell the store and enter retirement. They sold the business and building to real estate investor David Kong, but continued to run the store through a lease agreement with him.

About two months ago, Hall and four other Avery’s employees formed a Limited Liability Company (LLC) to prepare themselves to lease the store space from Kong. The idea was to keep Avery’s up and running as an employee-owned business.

But when negotiations between Kong and the Sinclairs fell through, the Sinclairs decided to sell their inventory, according Hall. This meant the LLC had to buy the business from Kong and the inventory from the Sinclairs.

The LLC initially hoped to raise $150,000 through, an online fundraising site, to take over daily operations and management of the 127 Main St. store, which has been part of the Charlemont community for more than 150 years. Within a few days, more than $35,000 was raised.

Hall said that soon after the GoFundMe page went live, a family approached the LLC to offer a loan to purchase the remaining inventory. The LLC then lowered the GoFundMe fundraising goal to $45,000, which it met by March 27.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the GoFundMe has raised almost $53,000 from more than 260 donors. Hall said this money will be used to help replenish the inventory.

Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-772-0261, ext. 263.


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