Gaithersburg Then and Now

NBC Washington DC

Historic Store Shuts Its Doors for Good

By Chris Gordon
NBC Washington
December 31, 2010


It's the end of an era. Poole's General Store closed for good at the end of business day on New Year's Eve.

The historic landmark located just off River Road on the way to Poolesville, Md., is named for the Poole family.

Customers would go on horseback and motorcycle. They were hunters and farmers and golfers.

The building dates back to 1901. Since 1965, the general store had been run by Billy Poole and her husband, Raymond.

"I feel like I'm leaving family behind," Billy Poole said Friday.

The store was known for its bacon and egg sandwiches served fresh from the grill. And its pork barbecue. You could find everything and anything, including a lot of stuff from long ago.

Long-time customer Henry White bought a 2001 calendar, which "reminds me of a better time."

Poole's was the place the community met for conversation.

"If you wanted the dirt, you came to Poole's Store," Betsy Gordon said. "They knew everyone."

"Today, businesses say 'Next, next!'" David Stang said. "They don't know your name."

He got emotional as he said, "It's the end of the good old days."

The Pooles' lease is up, and they are retiring. Everything left will be auctioned.

As they locked up for the last time Friday, they shared a moment with friends on the front porch while a man played "Auld Lang Syne" on a harmonica.