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Feb 10, 2015 11:51 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Springs General Store Will Remain Open Thanks To New Owner

Feb 10, 2015 1:51 PM

After facing months of uncertainty, the Springs General Store will remain in business thanks to a mystery buyer who signed a contract to purchase the property in late January and plans to continue to lease the space to the business.

The Springs General Store, one of the hamlet’s longtime, community-oriented mom-and-pop shops, is owned and run by Springs resident Kristi Hood, who lives with her family above the store on Old Stone Highway. The building’s owners, Michael and Jan Collins of Springs, did not agree to renew a lease with Ms. Hood without an increase and put the property up for sale late last year.

Ms. Hood confirmed that the sale of the building, which was listed through Saunders & Associates for just under $2 million, is pending, but said she could not share the identity of the buyer or the purchase price. Saunders also refused comment on who bought the property and for how much, saying that it is not yet public record.

“Yes, it’s a huge sigh of relief,” said Ms. Hood, who, just a month ago, thought she would have to close the store’s doors and move her family.

“I’m very excited, because my new landlord is a businessman,” she said. “He understands, and he’s willing to make an investment in order to get a return. He sees the value of the store and the community impact, and he wants to help me work to make it as profitable and successful as it can be, so we can continue having [the store] here for as long we possibly can.”

According to Ms. Hood, the new buyer has signed a contract on the building, but has not officially closed.

News that the store is staying open has been welcomed by community members, who had already begun mourning the loss of the business, she said. “Moms will come in and say their kids were, like, ‘What’re we going to do? We come here after school all the time.’ We’ve been here for almost 13 years, and we’ve seen these kids go from ideas to babies to school kids.”

Ms. Hood had said that buying the property herself was not something she could afford to do. She has owned the business since 2003, but the building has been around since 1844, when it was used as the first post office in Springs. Later, it became a community spot for everyday local goods, like food, newspapers, friendly conversation and, most recently, a place for musical entertainment on summer afternoons.

Once all the paperwork is in place, Ms. Hood said she plans to have a celebration with her family and customers, and is looking forward to starting a lunch program with the Springs School. She said the program will offer parents of schoolchildren the option to purchase hot lunches for students on the Springs General Store’s website for $7.50, and have them delivered directly to the school.

“[The school’s] been asking us to do that for a while, so now that we’re staying, we’ve got it set up to start on the 23rd,” Ms. Hood said. “We’re doing a nice, balanced nutritious meal, and we’re really trying to make the food interesting and fun. And we’ll accommodate gluten-free or vegetarian, because that’s just who we are, and it’ll just be fun for the kids.”

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7.50 for a lunch. Nice idea but too pricey. JMO
By Woods woman (144), East hampton on Feb 10, 15 8:04 PM
Where in town can you get a healthy lunch for $7.50? Think about your grocery bill and then add labor, workers comp, property and liability insurance, utilities, rent, fees etc.
By harbor (411), East Hampton on Feb 11, 15 9:09 AM
I remember when lunch was 75 cents.
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Feb 10, 15 8:17 PM
Nice to see the store will remain open. A nice slice of local flavor too many of which have disappeared.
By bird (824), Southampton on Feb 11, 15 9:25 AM
power tools, home improvements, building supplies, Eastern Long Island