Harney misses the convenience of its only general store


HARNEY -- What's a town like this doing without a general store?

High in the northwest corner of the county, bumping against Frederick County and Pennsylvania, Harney is just about as far out of the way as Detour.

The seclusion means the pay phone booth on Harney Road in the heart of town offers a caller almost as much privacy as his living room.

But the sleepy streets leave residents without much to choose from in the way of one-stop shopping.

When the Harney General Store closed in April, residents were forced to leave town if they wanted to buy more than the cigarettes and sodas they could get at Ridinger's Store at the corner of Harney and Conover roads.

They had to drive four miles to Taneytown, five to Littlestown, Pa., or seven to Gettysburg, Pa.

It was darned inconvenient.

Workers at the town's largest employer, Harney Woodworking, became brown-baggers because there was nowhere in town to buy a sandwich anymore, owner Charles T. Cole said.

The company, which has 18 employees, even was considering buying a coffee maker, said secretary Kathie Nye. She worked at the general store until it closed.

But by mid-October, Harney Woodworking employees should be able to walk down the alley and around the corner again for a sandwich at the Harney General Store. A Littlestown couple plans to reopen it.

Tom and Sherry Starner have a six-month lease that starts Oct. 1. Mr. Starner owns Starner's Hauling and his wife owns Country Carousel, a Littlestown craft store.They will run the general store with help from their niece, Margaret Bechtel, of Westminster, Mr. Starner said.

The store will carry fewer groceries than it used to, and customers will be able to rent videos, Mr. Starner said. "It will be more of a convenience store."

The Harney General Store is on the first floor of a blue house in the middle of town. An old gas pump sits out front.

Conrad Sigmon Jr., who lives upstairs, operated the store for the last five years. He closed it even though it was profitable, he

said, because he "personally got tired of it." He now has a construction job.

Carroll Hively, a town resident and Harney Woodworking employee, said he's looking forward to the store opening again.

WK "It's still really convenient to have a little store in town," he said.

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