Sep 25, 2003 — When Ames closed its stores almost a year ago, it left a retail gap in the North Country's small towns. From Saranac Lake to Lowville, people voiced their frustrations in getting basic items, from socks and underwear to sewing notions and shower curtains. The Ames closure also left an employment gap in the region, one that new retail stores are starting to fill. Wise Buys opens in Canton this weekend and Hacketts opens in Potsdam in November. David Sommerstein reports.