Celebrating a century of service: 'This store is the community'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Time has changed many things for the Mohawk General Store, but owner Terry Alberts says one thing has kept the century-old staple in business - the community.

"This store is the community. It has a lot of character to it... 100 years of history," Alberts said.

Walk inside and you'll be crossing the same floorboards as customers did during the grand opening in August 9, 1914.

"You can see the character of the floor. It's still in good condition considering that it's so old," Alberts said. "Been a lot of loggers and so forth come through the store over the years."

Alberts, who purchased the store nearly a year ago, joined the long lineage of owners who have kept the shop open through both booms and recessions.

"Being six or seven miles from Springfield, it makes it convenient if they need something to be able to drop here in the store and pick it up, versus having to drive all the way in to town," said Alberts.

The store sells more grocery items nowadays, but it used to serve as a post office, livestock feed shop and a hardware store. In the 1950's the upper floor was converted into a dance hall.

Ray Bruce, now in his 80's, said he still remembers the first time he stepped into the general store when he was five years old.

"The merchandise was behind the counter, so you'd walk up and they'd get you the merchandise. Underneath they had a whole bunch of charges, and you could run a credit," said Bruce.

Locals who have been visiting the store through the years came though for a celebration on Saturday to swap memories of the grocery store that has served the community for the last century.