Backstory: My wife Lori was born in Ritchie county WV just about 2 miles from the Washburn General on a road bearing her maiden name. She moved away at a young age and now that we’re getting older, or at least feeling older, she wanted to move back home to be with her father. The store has been owned and operated by a friend of the family and kin to some of the family for the last 20+ years. He has decided to retire and put the store up for sale. He wanted Lori to have it and patiently waited for us to figure out if this was a feasible venture. We started to run out of time and decided to jump in, feasible or not. We couldn’t let this opportunity pass.
The store was built in the early 1870’s and has been vital for this small community outside of Harrisville for 150 years. It’s name has changed over the years but is commonly known as the Washburn store or the Washburn General. Lori and I want to do this the right way. Ritchie county has a rich history, beautiful buildings, and a strong family oriented community. We want to preserve the history of the county and the building by keeping it as original as possible, and if this campaign has any success, restore damaged parts to original condition. The area is excited for the store to reopen and we want to give the customers and community something to be proud of.
Our goal is to be open for business in about a year. We live about 2 1/2 hours away from the store and will be traveling on the weekends to work on the place. Donations can make it possible for us to expedite our plans by hiring contractors to do more of the work. Your donations will not only help save a historic building, but you will help fulfill my wife’s dream of owning the store she grew up with and my dream of being a small business owner.
HOW YOUR DONATIONS WILL BE SPENT:
1) The store has an apartment attached to the back and we plan on living in it. The first funds will go toward making the apartment livable and comfortable for our family of 4. It needs heating and air as well as carpet, paint, etc… This needs to be done before we sell our house and make the move.
2) It still has the original roof from 1870! We do not want to replace this roof. We want to professionally repair it and keep it original.
3) As can be expected over 150 years, one or two of the original hand hewn stone pillars that the building sits on have sunk into the ground a few inches. We would like to level the floor and save these pillars from collapse.
4) Preparing the retail space for inventory. That means scrub,scub,scrub everything in sight. Repair faulty coolers if necessary. Clean, repair, and paint the original stamped metal ceiling. Replace the flooring or uncover and restore the original if the health dept. allows. Purchase a cash register, security system, and other necessary components to be ready to open and accept all payment methods.
5) Inventory! Initial inspection and filling of the 2000 gallon gas tank will be a major focus. At $4.00 per gallon, it will cost $8,000 to fill it the first time. If there’s a problem with the tank…. That will be a pricey issue. And of course, everyone’s favorite grocery items.
6) If this campaign is successful enough, remaining funds will go toward the payoff on the property. If we can accomplish that, my wife can quit her job and run the store full time.
If the social media link doesn’t work, just look for “We bought the Washburn General” on Instagram to see your donations come to life!
All this place needs is a little help and a lot of love and I’ve heard this is the place to find it. Even if you don’t donate, thank you for taking the time to read our campaign. We’re pretty excited and kinda scared. Thanks again and God bless!