As you may know, our organization – a new non-profit known as the Store at Five Corners Stewardship Association (SAFCSA) – finalized our purchase of the Store on January 27th. We’re thrilled to own the Store, but our work has just begun! Everyone’s support is now more important than ever.
Our board is immensely pleased with reaching this first major milestone toward achieving our short and long-term goals of saving, reviving and sustaining the Store. It’s a community treasure, with a very long history and the potential for a very bright future. We’re deeply grateful to the seller, Dr. Franklin Lewis, for all he did to ensure a smooth transition. We believe the entire community will benefit when the Store reclaims its role as a vital local resource and gathering place.
The purchase also wouldn’t have been possible without the enormous support and generosity from many community members who stepped up to provide the resources necessary for this major undertaking. But we’re now just over halfway to our overall goal of $1.2 to 1.5 million needed not only to purchase the Store, but also to establish an endowment to pay for immediate repairs as well as longer-term capital projects. Some projects have already been done, including important basement and foundation work.
In early January, SAFCSA applied for $50,000 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds for priority improvements (including the basement and foundation work as well as projects in the attic, perimeter, stairs, deck, and handicap ramp estimated to cost overall $83,500-$105,500) to preserve this structure dating back some 200 years.
On February 2nd, our board made a presentation to the Williamstown Community Preservation Committee (CPC) in support of this application. By a 4-3 vote, the CPC decided to place this application onto the warrant for the Annual Town Meeting this Spring. Voters at Town Meeting will decide whether these funds will be awarded to SAFCSA.
Please note that even if SAFCSA receives CPA funding, we will still need community members to continue supporting this initiative, so we can succeed both in reopening the Store and in keeping it open and thriving for many years to come.
With the purchase complete, SAFCSA is now turning its attention to securing a new operator to lease the Store – equipped with a commercial kitchen, barista machine, and sunny café seating area – and to run the Store as their own business. To this end, we have posted an Operator Application Packet on the SAFCSA website – see https://storeatfivecorners.org/application/ . Interested applicants should submit their materials by March 1st. Please feel free to circulate this application to anyone who might be interested.
Board of Directors of The Store at Five Corners Stewardship Association
Karen Charbonneau, President
MaryEllen Meehan, Treasurer
Matthew Baya, Secretary