Southport General Store celebrates 140 years in style

Tue, 08/02/2022 - 9:30am

    1882—the year F.D.R. was born, the first Labor Day Parade took place in New York City, and Edward Everett Pinkham opened a new store in West Southport. Originally known as “E.E. Pinkham and Son,” the Store has remained in business and on the same site, ever since. Now the Southport General Store, its 140th Anniversary was celebrated in fine style July 30.

    The store’s current owners, Todd and Barbara Leland, described the occasion as a “family-style community event” and hoped that it would be the first of similar events to be held annually. “We’re excited about Southport and the store’s 140 years, so it seemed a good opportunity to get out and celebrate,” said Barbara. “Plus, this is really the first time since Covid, that we’ve been able to get everyone together, to have fun, relax, and say thank you. We’re so proud of all our staff for hanging in there these past few years and for getting the store through.”

    Many people showed up to partake in the afternoon festivities that were kicked off by master of ceremonies Skip Simonds. Music was provided by “Boogie 2 Shooz” and “32 North,” there were oysters and ice cream, and cornhole toss was set up in the parking lot.

    Between the Store and the Gift Barn were Southport artisan vendors including Lilly Burnham — a rising 9th grader selling her unique candles with such evocative names as “Southport Sands” — Morgan Mitchell, who describes her one-of-a kind clothing as “hand-painted and -printed wearable art,” and Maria Doelp with prints and original watercolor maps, pictures, and cards.

    And joining the locals were crafters from farther afield, including “Harbor Yarns” from Damariscotta, “Belfire” Hot Glass and Gallery of Biddeford; Devorah Hanson—whose great- and great-great-grandfathers were keepers of the Hendricks Head Lighthouse—with 44 Inch Designs; Sisters Soap from Bristol; Brewery Bags from Boothbay Harbor; and Mary Hanley selling “One of a Kind Necklaces” crafted from sand dollars found on Popham Beach.  

    It was an afternoon of relaxed fun: the sun shone, neighbors visited, friends danced, and children went home with ice-creamed faces and free “1882” pins. Happy Birthday Southport General Store, and many happy returns!