The End of Craige’s Store

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A variety store that has called a community home for 79 years closed Tuesday in Susquehanna County.

The owner said the slow economy and competition from big box retailers meant decades of work must come to an end.

It was a day to reminisce and say goodbye at Craige's Store in Montrose.

The place that opened 79 years ago is closing. It was a tough day for current owner Ron Craige.

"It's just been awesome working with Montrose public, working in Montrose but it's tough. It's tough to give it up," Craige said.

The variety store opened as Taylor's in 1933. Ron Craige's dad took over in the 1970s. Ron has run it since 1998.

Customers taking advantage of last day sales are sad to see the place that offered so much for so long leave town.

"It was just an absolutely great place. Everyone came here for their gift buying. It was really a nice place, nice family, a nice place," said customer Bonnie Mead.

"I think it's been a very big help to the community because they handled so many things and I think it's going to be a big loss to the community when they're gone," said Jean Williams of Auburn Township.

Since the 1930s, people said, they've been coming to the store to find a bit of everything, but now one problem the owner said is that people go to Wal-Marts and Targets to find a little bit of everything.

"They have hurt us, absolutely. They are 15 20 30 miles away from us and people don't seem to hesitate to get in the cars and drive to the big boxes and that hasn't helped," Craige added.

On this day, he is just grateful for the loyal customers who have been coming in for years.

"I guess that kinds of dates us because we like these small, country stores that really have great things available," said Nancy Finlon of Auburn Township.

Craige added that after all these years, there is only one thing he can say to his customers. "Thank you. It seems small and unappreciated, but thank you," he said.

Ron Craige is going to continue his framing, florist and shipping businesses, but they will be at a new location in the Montrose area where his brother operates a photography studio.