Debbie Chouinard, far left, said that her regular customers are like family to her. “They tease me all the time,” she said. BENJAMIN C. KLEIN At far left, graphic shows that while the Robie's Country Deli and Store has been open since the 1800s, the building has been rebuilt twice due to being completely destroyed by fires. COURTESY
Robie's Country Store owner struggling to stay open in Hooksett
First opened in 1800s, the store has been designated in both the state and national registers of historic places due to its long, colorful and important history. Stepping into the store feels like stepping into the past, with old wooden floors, campaign posters from the early 1900s on the walls and an aesthetic that screams classic Americana.
While Chouinard owns the business, she is in an unusual agreement in that she leases the building from the Robie's Country Store Historic Preservation Corp.
"I come here almost every day, so I would say I'm happy," he said.
"It used to be more of a grocery store. Now it is more about serving food," Schroeder said.
Despite no longer owning the store that bears her husband's family name, Dorothy Robie, 95, still tries to make it to the store for breakfast whenever she can."For over 30 years, my husband and I worked here for seven days a week until he got Alzheimer's and we had to sell. On our last day, more than 400 people showed up to say goodbye. We are very happy that the legacy of this place is being kept alive," Robie said.
For many of the customers, part of the fun of eating at the store is Chouinard's granddaughter Paityn, who can often be seen eating with customers, striking up conversations or riding her big wheel happily through the store.
Richard Juneau said he has been coming to the store since 1970, but now that he he is retired he finds himself spending more time than ever there.
"The customers tease me and make me coffee when I get busy," she said. "The people here are more like a family."
Robie's, at 9 Riverside St., Hooksett, is open seven days a week, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.