ADAMS The Hearthstone Ministries Thrift Store will have to find a new location after receiving an eviction notice from the owner of its East Church Street space.
The notice requires the store to be cleared by the end of the month, with an attorney for the buildings owner saying it was her understanding that the property is going to be sold.
William A. Sampson, who runs the store with his wife, the Rev. Susan M. Sampson, said he was delivered the notice late Friday afternoon by a woman he knew only as an infrequent customer.
We were devastated when we found out, Mr. Sampson said. How are we going to be able to help the community?
He said the store, which the couple started with $3,000 in the bank, would mark two years at its location at 11 Church St. on Tuesday.
Since receiving the notice, Mr. Sampson said, he has tried to reach Peggy A. Brouty, who owns the stores building through P.A.B. Enterprises, with no success.
I wish we could get an answer, Mr. Sampson said. Thats our problem, we have no information.
Mr. Sampson said the eviction was even more surprising since he and his wife had talked with Ms. Brouty about working out some kind of long-term lease or purchase of the building, and were in the process of a fundraiser to help make a down payment.
We really wanted to work with her and make things nice, and be here for our community, he said.
A message left Tuesday with Ms. Brouty was not returned. The eviction notice was crafted by Catherine Burns Quencer, of Schwerzmann & Wise P.C., Watertown.
Mrs. Quencer explained the timing of the eviction notice was typical for removing a month-to-month renter.
Mr. Sampson acknowledged the store was not a large moneymaker, generating $50 or less on bad days to about $200 on good days. However, he said, the stores value was as a space for residents, especially older ones, to spend time.
They just want someone to talk with, he said. Its a community place to hang out.
Within the past two weeks, Mr. Sampson said, the store had raised about $820 toward making a down payment for the building through a fundraiser and raffle drawing.
This is an economically depressed area, he said. Thats huge for around here.
Mr. Sampson said he and his wife were looking at contingency plans for the store, and had been offered a space in Adams Center that he said he needed to do more research about.
He also said that David F. Belloff had offered the thrift shop space at his Main Street store location to store its items until the couple found a new location.
Connie A. Elliott, president of the South Jeff Chamber of Commerce, said she was saddened to hear the news of the shops looming eviction.
They do a lot of things for people in the town and people that are down on their luck, Ms. Elliott said.
She noted the amount of work put into the building by the Sampsons to operate the store.