The first-community owned department store in the state offers basic goods - everything from underwear to bedsheets - things people in Saranac Lake had a hard time finding locally since the last chain department store closed nearly nine years ago.
Organizers had sold half a million dollars in shares to get the business off the ground. The store opened its doors last month. As Chris Knight reports, Owens visit brought just the latest in a string of accolades.
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Owens took a brief tour of the store Tuesday afternoon with members of its board of directors . He said he was "amazed" by the quantity and quality of the goods offered, and praised the store's organizers for their five-year effort to make it happen.
(owens1) "This is really the American sprit," Owens said. "This is people in a small town getting together to solve a problem. I was saying to them that there's probably a lot of other communities in the Northeast but probably throughout the United States which would like to follow this model. Small town, focused on the things that people need, able to change their inventory selection based upon community input. I'm just wholly impressed, and I also understand the tremendous amout of work that people who are running this put in, not only for the past five years, but will as they roll forward."
Community store organizers said Tuesday that business has been steady since a ribbon cutting ceremony last month. An official grand opening was held this past weekend.
Meanwhile, the store has been getting plenty of publicity, both around the state and across the country. It was profiled in the "Business" section of the Sunday New York Times on Nov. 13. A crew from CBS' The Early Show was in Saranac Lake recently to record a feature on the store that was scheduled to air this morning.