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Pickens General Store addition ready for grand opening

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HEUVELTON — This week guests will be invited to tour the new addition at Pickens General Store.

Reaching about 20 feet into the back parking lot and towering three stories tall, the new addition makes the building truly handicapped accessible for the first time without sacrificing the historical integrity of the structure, built in 1858.

Construction on the project started in the spring and today the structure is nearing completion; construction workers are putting the finishing touches on the interior and inspections are underway.

Inside the decidedly modern but folksy addition, guests will see a bright lobby in which the original stoneworking of the building still can be seen.

The addition includes bathrooms on all three floors, fire stairs and an elevator.

While the building’s historic opera house, on the third floor, is still closed to the public pending future renovation projects, the elevator will take guests to the second floor, which is used year-round as a community space, concert venue and museum.

“I think we were all really afraid of it looking like an addition,” said Betsy C. Hebert, manager of the Pickens General Store online shop.

But the addition, painted Adirondack green, appears as if it were always part of the building.

Ms. Hebert pointed out a wooden beam at the top of the addition that juts out from the wall that was formerly part of the building’s exterior elevator system. That example is just one of the ways the addition was tailored to complement Pickens General Store rather than detract from its historical image.

Beyond the entryway, which was two sets of glass doors, the new section of the building has been fitted with a full loading dock, which will help ease the process of stocking the store, Ms. Hebert said.

On Friday, community members and Pickens General Store enthusiasts are invited to join the addition’s grand opening celebration.

The event will begin at 7 p.m. with music by Don Woodcock and stories by Bill Smith. Tours of the new facility will be given as well, and refreshments will be available.

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