Amos L. Avery (1831-1917) began his career as a storekeeper at an early age. He was only 23 years old when he began working at the Easthampton General Store. From there, he worked in the Bernardston, Massachusetts general store for 5 years. Following his marriage in Hawley, Massachusetts, Amos returned to his hometown of Charlemont, Massachusetts to go into business with Thomas Mayhew in a general store. An earlier general store existed in the 1850s under the name Mayhew & Avery.
In 1861, Amos and his brother, William bought out Mayhew, and formed W.B. & A.L. Avery. A few years later, in 1866, Amos bought out William’s share and formed A.L. Avery. A year later, Amos also bought the building that housed the store. ?The Baltimore, as it was known, was built by the Mayhew family.
Amos would run the business as the sole proprietor until 1890, when his son Oscar would join him, resulting in the name change, A.L. Avery & Son. Amos died in 1917, leaving the business in the family, as Oscar’s son Henry L. Avery would join as a partner in 1927. The Avery General Store stayed in the same family for over 157 years, making it one of the oldest family run businesses in the country.
A. L. Avery & Son was a fifth generation family-owned business with deep connections to the community in and around Charlemont, with the Previous owners Dennis Avery and Karen Hogness running the store for the last 42 years . Avery’s changed hands to new owners in November of 2016.
On March 27, 2020, the final details were wrapped up and papers signed to officially make Avery’s General Store an employee owned business. Several of Avery’s employees formed an LLC in order to lease the store space from the current building owner, and take over the daily operations and management of the business. Funding for the transition was raised in part through a GoFundMe campaign supported by a large number of local donors.
Avery’s is the true embodiment of a general store, with a meat counter, produce cooler, canned goods, hardware, housewares, clothing, shoes, building materials, and every day essentials.
The new owners and staff hope that Avery’s General Store will continue to be an integral part of the community for many years to come.
“If you can’t find it at Avery’s; you probably don’t need it”
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