Under new ownership, Avery’s General Store in Charlemont changes course

  • The new owner of Avery’s General Store, David Kong, at right, with longtime store employees and former owners Ken Hall and Paula Rice in the Charlemont store. Both employees will continue working at the 161-year-old business. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The new owner of Avery’s General Store, David Kong, at right, with Goshen contractor Mike Phillips in what will be the new full kitchen in the Charlemont store. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Avery’s General Store at 127 Main St. in Charlemont is under new ownership and will remain open. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The hardware section across the street from Avery’s General Store in Charlemont. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Ken Hall of Avery’s General Store in Charlemont takes a customer’s order by phone. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 6/9/2022 3:09:57 PM

CHARLEMONT — Following an April announcement that it would be closing after 161 years in business, Avery’s General Store has shifted course and will now stay open under new ownership.

The business itself, as well as the building the business operates from at 127 Main St., has changed hands many times over the past decade. Most recently, the business became employee-owned in March 2020, just weeks before the pandemic hit the area. The building was owned by David Kong at this time.

The employees took to social media in April to announce they would be closing the business, which opened in 1861. However, instead of following through with the closure, Kong bought the employees’ shares of the LLC that owned the business and became the LLC’s sole member. He plans to make significant changes to Charlemont’s beloved storefront.

“Buying the business was a good opportunity,” Kong said. “When I get this done, I am hoping to serve locals as well as tourists.”

“As long as it keeps the store open, I am all for it,” said employee Ken Hall.

According to Hall, all employees will keep their jobs amid the ownership change.

Kong is a real estate agent from Boston. He owns five buildings in Boston with other partners, and his family still lives there.

“Here is a good opportunity to invest compared to Boston,” he said. “It is one-third the price.”

Kong first bought a farm in Buckland, and then purchased the building that houses Avery’s General Store.

Pending receipt of the permits he needs, Kong plans to change the storefront into four distinct departments: a restaurant, grocery store, deli and hardware store. He is building a full kitchen, and hopes to get a food establishment permit by next month.

The store will remain open during renovations, Kong said, although it will close in sections during construction.

Kong said he hopes to create a separate storefront for the hardware, which has been located at the back of the store but will move to the barn across the street.

“It can be a combined business with Avery’s, or it can be a separate business owned by someone else,” Kong said.

The first phase of construction would entail building a restaurant in one half of the store. The coolers that are blocking the windows will be moved so the public can see inside. There are also plans to add tables and a counter.

“We are trying to attract young folks,” Kong added, noting that more than half the customers who frequent the store are elderly residents.

However, Kong said he hopes to improve the building’s accessibility for its elderly customers. He plans to install a side door with a handicap ramp.

The Old Creamery Co-op in Cummington and Green Fields Market in Greenfield were listed as inspirations for what the market might look like. Kong also named Corsello Butcheria in Easthampton as a collaborator for the deli part of the store.

“The most important thing is we are still here and we are still open,” Hall said. “Hopefully people will come back.”

The store is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit its website at averysgeneral.store.

Contact Bella Levavi
at 413-930-4579 or
blevavi@recorder.com.


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