With last month’s sudden death of the Washington General Store’s owner, the fate of the only operating store in the town of Washington was in limbo.
But this week, Marsha Edgman says the plan is to keep the doors open until a new owner can be found.
“My husband would have wanted that, to let the community have access to the store,” she said.
Her husband, Don Edgman, died unexpectedly Jan. 23 at the age of 59. In addition to being a local business owner, Edgman was a highly visible and hugely popular member of the community, Washington residents have said.
“He was a father figure to everyone in this town,” Lori Redmon, a store clerk, told The Union.
“If you needed help with a couple of bucks till payday or some special orders, he would be there.”
As the hub of the community’s commerce, the store’s fate without its owner left some residents concerned about being able to pick up necessities near home. But Marsha Edgman wanted those community members to rest easy in knowing that the store will stay open five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, while new ownership is sought. Redmon said Wednesday the hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the interim.
“I just know that people come visit on the weekends, so it’s important to be open then,” Marsha Edgman said.
The Edgmans have owned the store since 2006. Don Edgman told The Union in 2010 that he had visited the store as a child as his family would camp along the banks of the Yuba River. He bought the store as the economic recession approached, and he, like most businessmen, felt the pinch through the tough times. But he remained steadfast in his pledge to retain the historic charm of one of the town’s centerpieces.
“I always promote the town first, because what’s good for the town is good for the store,” Don Edgman told The Union in 2010. “The town comes first, and the store comes second.”
“I knew this was a little country store, and I didn’t want to be the guy who changed everything,” he said.
“When a place like this has been going for at least 100 years, the system’s pretty much in place. It’s a place where you can still get a cold bottle of pop.”
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