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Nevada man to buy Francestown store, give it to the community

By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent

September 10. 2017 1:39AM
The Francestown Village Store was sold in a foreclosure auction in July. (Meghan Pierce/Union Leader Correspondent)



FRANCESTOWN - A man from Nevada who read about the closing of the Francestown Village Store in the Wall Street Journal has stepped in to buy the property with plans to give the building to the Francestown Improvement and Historical Society.

The Francestown Village Store was established in 1814 as The Long Store, and before it closed on July 5 the 203-year-old store held the title of second-oldest continuously operating general store in the country.

A foreclosure auction was held on the sidewalk outside the store on July 20 and was attended by more than 50 people. Many were residents hoping that one of them would buy and reopen the town's only Main Street business. But a $100,000 opening bid from Lake Sunapee Bank, which also held the mortgage on the property, went unchallenged.

The Wall Street Journal ran an article about the closing of the store on the same day of the auction. After reading the article, the person from Nevada decided to buy the store back for the town, said Sarah Pyle of the Francestown Improvement and Historical Society on Tuesday.

The man contacted the town and intends to pay back the tax lien on the property, the water bill and buy the property back from the bank, she said.

The deal isn't settled yet, so Pyle declined to go into the specifics of the transaction or even to name the mystery buyer.

"At this point it looks like it's just going forward swimmingly. They are starting closing this week, next week at latest," Pyle said last week.

Pyle said more details will be released after the purchase has gone through.

After ownership of the property is transferred, the Francestown Improvement and Historical Society intends to seek ideas on uses for the building.

"My God, it's just a windfall for Francestown and this guy has done something so generous, so out of the blue we're all kind of pinching ourselves and figuring out what to do from here," Pyle said. "The town has said we miss the store, but it's a big building."

mpierce@unionleader.com


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