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05/18/2021

One of the few remaining general stores up for sale

Photo of the grocery store, which is like a big white country home

Do you have $365,000 and want to own one of the most treasured landmarks in the Upper Ottawa Valley?

Douglas Grocery, a general store that has been in operation for more than 130 years under different hands, is being sold by owners Bob Antcil and Donna Brisbin, who purchased the gem on Queen St. on the main drag in Douglas in 2003.

The price tag not only includes the supermarket but a 52 ft. by 208-ft. property containing a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment used by the owners along with a three-bedroom, one-bath apartment upstairs that can be rented out, although the tenants would like to stay, if possible.

And already, there has been interest in the store.

"We have two potential people looking into it,'' Brisbin said. "`We're retiring. I'm 64 and Bob is 74. I've had it in my mind for several years that I wanted to sell. It's a younger person's job. I wouldn't mind working one or two days but I don't want to be working seven days a week.''

Brisbin, who was born in Toronto but moved to Castleford near Renfrew as a toddler, had been working at Douglas Grocery for two and half years when she was approached by the owner at the time about possibly buying it. Initially, she said "no way'' but she eventually secured a government loan, instead of a mortgage, and paid it off in 10 years.

According to listing agent Teri Leech of Maple Real Estate Corporation in Cobden, any offers for the prized establishment will be presented May 18 but the sellers ''reserve the right to review and may accept pre-emptive offers.''

The building includes an "owned'' ATM machine and a screened, covered deck overlooking a large backyard with a storage shed and "no back neighbours'' according to the listing.

Hailed in the realtor's listing as the "ultimate convenience store'', Douglas Grocery has been a popular institution with local residents and Highway 60 commuters and tourists, who love the fresh baked goods, pizza, grocery items and other daily staples you may not find elsewhere.

"The big draw is the cinnamon buns. People come from all over the place for the cinnamon buns,'' Brisbin said.

The Brisbins plan to purchase a house in the Douglas-Renfrew area once they sell the store.

The store has had a number of owners over the years, including original proprietor Dave Collins in 1889. The longest running ownership group was the Breen family. Mick Breen purchased the store in 1898 from Martin Ringrose for $1,000 and Margaret and Harold Breen ran the store for 75 years until 1973 when they sold to Jack and Mary Crogie for $75,000.

There have been several other owners since, including Bob and Mary Holmes, who bought it from the Crogies in the 1970s.