MILL RIVER — The Mill River General store will close its doors at the end of the month, ending a 180-year history of serving as a community hub for the town of New Marlborough and as the Berkshire’s longest-operating general store.
The decision is a mutual one between the owner of the building, David Herrick, and the store’s current proprietor, Jessica Holcomb, to close up shop, says Holcomb.
“I’m gratefully bowing out,” Holcomb told this newspaper. “I’m making the right decision for myself.”
Holcomb took over the general store from Herrick in 2017, when Herrick decided to retire from running the business. Holcomb cited a grave financial situation where she is unable to find a bank in Southern Berkshire County that will help finance the purchase of the building, currently owned by Herrick.
Last month, Holcomb told this newspaper that without ownership of the building, she is unable to make any needed repairs or restorations to the 19th century shop, which also rents out space to the post office.
“The building is not up to code,” Holcomb said. “The building can’t pass certifications.”
Holcomb said that she had several financial institutions call her recently, in hopes they could help finance the purchase of the building. However, when Holcomb ran the numbers by Greylock Federal Credit Union, there was no solution found to help her situation.
“The business cannot support these numbers,” said Holcomb, referring to Herrick’s asking price.
Holcomb moved to the Berkshires in 2016 with her husband, Todd, a veteran of the U.S. Army.
Located between the New Marlborough Public Library and Town Hall, the general store has served as an information center for residents, as well as the host of a longstanding coffee club for locals.
An email thread from the Google Group “Maggie’s List”, an online forum for residents of New Marlborough, had read that Holcomb was given an order to vacate by Friday Jan. 31.
Holcomb will continue to open up shop at 6 a.m. daily until she leaves the business at the end of the month.