Although Vespertine is no longer in Pittsboro, my thoughts are certainly there this morning. I was so saddened to learn that the General Store Cafe closed its doors on Jan 24th. It was such a definable part of Pittsboro...almost as much as the Courthouse. I really cannot imagine driving up the Circle and not seeing the lights on around their big windows.
I could really show my age here and say how I remember going with my Mom, taking a jar to the original General Store (located across the street) to fill it with Tamari. Going with friends to get firecracker mix in the afternoons. I remember when it moved, expanded, and added the restaurant. When I would come home from college breaks, I would meet my friends there. We would order the quiche, salad, and coffee and hunker down in our favorite corner--where we would remain undisturbed for hours as we caught up.
The thought I keep coming back to today is that the General Store Cafe really helped give Vespertine life. When I first started out in March of 2007 (wow!), I was working at three Pittsboro businesses (which also helped form Vespertine) and thinking of starting my own. Being able to barter for rent and to do the night closeouts at the GSC allowed me to get my business going. My original shop was located beside the GSC, and the business they generated spilled over in to mine. Although I grew up here, I had never lived "in town" before then. I can still remember how it felt to lock up the GSC and walk home through the place I then felt was "my" town. Vance and Joyce (the GSC owners) were so inspiring to me. I loved watching their business thrive and expand. I was so excited to be working with other business people who had a vision to bring something fun and unique to Pittsboro.
I really hope that we can all collectively pause now and think about what is happening with Pittsboro. How can we better support our businesses? How can we make this a positive and thriving place to live? We can use the Mainstreet Program as a great place to start envisioning our future and figuring out what we need to make it become a reality.
At the risk of sounding overly poetic, I really feel that with the closing of the GSC, a lovely emerald jewel has fallen out of the crown of Pittsboro. Let's not lose another one.