STAR LAKE, N.Y. (WWNY) - Joyce Persons remembers her first thought when she heard the Great American grocery in Star Lake would close at the end of November.
“Oh, no. No grocery store. Now we’re going to have to drive out of town to get our groceries,” Persons said.
But Monday, she left the driving to someone else. Persons was taking St. Lawrence County Public Transit’s new Star Lake-to-Harrisville bus to get to Chuck’s Market.
Persons said, “I was happy when I heard the bus was going to go to a grocery store.”
The new 21-mile bus run is operating Mondays and Fridays on a trial basis. If enough people ride, it will keep going. Seniors say the journey is about more than just the destination.
"The bus is a real social experience,” said John Burns, president of the Clifton-Fine Senior Citizens Club.
The bus is also stopping at U-B’s Mercantile on Route 3 in Oswegatchie. U-B’s has been getting ready ever since they heard the Great American would close.
Kimberly Nolan, co-owner U-B'S Mercantile, said, "We've added a lot more to the store than what we use to carry. We have a lot more meat selection, produce selection, frozen food selection."
The Great American was the only grocery store in Star Lake. Great American took it over when an IGA store that was there for decades closed three years ago.
The county’s industrial development agency and two other agencies were owed $345,000 by the previous owner. The IDA erased the debt in exchange for the deed to the property. It says it may be able to recover some of the money by selling the property.