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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fishbones General Store in Mont Vernon closing its doors

MONT VERNON – The town’s only store will close Wednesday .

Fishbones General Store owner Kristin O’Brien, who said she has been struggling to make the store a success since its opening in January, said business has been good, but that she doesn’t have enough money to continue. ...

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MONT VERNON – The town’s only store will close Wednesday .

Fishbones General Store owner Kristin O’Brien, who said she has been struggling to make the store a success since its opening in January, said business has been good, but that she doesn’t have enough money to continue.

“There is nothing I can do to keep it going,” she said. “I put all my money” into improving the building.

O’Brien said Public Service of New Hampshire plans to shut the electricity off Thursday.

O’Brien and her husband, Billy Croteau, bought the 160-year-old building at 10 North Main St. for $72,000 in 2011.

The building had operated as Mont Vernon General Store since almost the Civil War, before it closed in 2010 partly because of the economic downturn. The store’s gasoline tank and pumps had to be removed because of a variety of problems, ending a service that previous owners had said generated more than a quarter of its total revenue.

In the process of a near total renovation, O’Brien said they found that the walls were straining under the weight of a decades-old second-floor addition and were bowing outward.

Their startup costs more than quadrupled. O’Brien organized a fundraiser to help defray the costs. A comedy night was held at the Milford Veterans of Foreign Wars with regional comedians, including O’Brien, but the proceeds didn’t take her far.

“I’m very sad to go. I even love that dilapidated old house,” she said, referring to the house next door that came with the purchase.

O’Brien said she thinks someone will take the store over and make a go of it.

“This town is fabulous,” she said. “I have made more friends than I have anywhere before. They are incredibly kind and patient. Every time something goes wrong here, someone would show up to make it right.”

O’Brien is moving back to Massachusetts, where she grew up, and likely will return to waitressing, bartending and standup comedy.

In August, the store drew media attention after O’Brien said people complained when she put a campaign sign for Speaker of the House Bill O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, in front of her store. The two are no relation.

On Friday, Kristin O’Brien hugged some of her customers, saying goodbye to them. She said she’s proud that the building is now in good shape.

“We saved the most beautiful historic building in New England, and I’m glad to be a part of it,” she said. “Everything happens for a reason.”