Closing of Robinson's General Store a blow to nearby businesses, Dorset community
The future of a general store that has been a mainstay in Dorset for more than a century is in question after it closed to the disappointment of residents and nearby businesses.
Robinson's General Store originally opened in 1921 and was owned and operated by the Robinson family before they sold to Mike and Katie Hinbset in 2021.
A closed sign went in the window this past month.
"It's shocking when you see something like that happen in a small community like that. There's such an impact for so many people," said Algonquin Highlands Mayor Liz Danielsen.
The general store has been a lifeline for residents who now say they have no local option for groceries but to travel 30 minutes to Huntsville for food.
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Danielsen said post-pandemic has been difficult for many businesses, adding the once-popular area has seen a decline in visitors.
"Another thing that's compounded this is the weather," the mayor noted. "There's no snow. The lakes aren't properly frozen over, so the snowmobiling - this is the time of year when everybody is kind of reaping some benefits from that part of our tourism industry, and that's seriously delayed."
The store's closing is also impacting business for nearby establishments, including a restaurant across the street.
"It's just unbelievable," said Zachary's Restaurant owner Bill Johnson.
While Johnson admits business has been slow for some time, they say the lack of traffic heading to the general store has made things worse.
"We are just beside ourselves," Johnson added.
Danielsen says she is hopeful the store will be re-opened at some point, giving residents an option for local shopping.
"We will do everything we can," she said.
"I've talked to the county's economic development officer to see if there's any help that he can give or guidance, something, anything that we can do to try and alleviate the situation. It's just tough all the way around," she concluded.
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