87 Year Old Georgia General Store in Danger of Closing

By: AP edited by Harrison Hove Email
By: AP edited by Harrison Hove Email

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (AP) _ It doesn't take many miles outside of Atlanta to go way, way back in time.

In the one stoplight town of Social Circle sits the 87 year old, family owned Claude T. Wiley Company, a quintessential Southern small town general store.

But in the modern era, the store -- run by the founder's three aging children -- is struggling.

Owner Fred Wiley says business is bad on a recent morning.

Once upon a time, the first day of the month brought in eager shoppers with their paychecks and Social Security and pension money.

Not any more, as downtown general stores and even department stores keep losing customers and disappearing.

On this particular day, the store sold less than 20 dollars worth of goods, not enough for Wiley to bother scribbling down the profits.

The 82 year old Wiley is hoping he and his sisters -- Elizabeth and Dorothy -- can keep the doors open through the end of the year.

None of them are struggling financially, but they'd like to keep their father's store open a little while longer, for old time's sake.

Their father, Claude Wiley, opened the store in 1920 with his brother, Berry. It was called Wiley Brothers, but Claude changed the name after Berry died in 1928.


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