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General Store hopes to bring community home to Harvard

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HARVARD — She may have been raised in Europe but Evelyn “Lyn” Horowitz’s family has been in Harvard for over 90 years. Now she and her husband Adam have not only moved into her family’s home, they also purchased the General Store to give the town some revitalization.

Horowitz grew up in Europe with her mother, Evelyn, but frequently came to Harvard to visit her family.

“This is sort of like ‘not’ home.” she said with a laugh. “We always came here to visit.”

The Horowitzes visited Harvard in March 2007 and decided to take a look at the building since it was for sale.

“We spent maybe 15 minutes in here,” she said. “We were driving down the highway and Adam said, ‘Let’s buy it.’ So, we turned around and bought it.”

The couple has lived all over the world and decided it was time to settle down with their Jack Russell terrier, Jake.

“We not only wanted to have a community around us, but we wanted to have something the people would enjoy as well,” she said. And so it began.

The transformation from the “old” General Store took about a year and a half, but the Horowitzes are pleased to bring a piece of Harvard back to life.

“It’s a beautiful building and we felt comfortable in it,” she said. “This is a place to gather. The town has gone really quiet. Everybody used to always come to the General Store.”

It’s also a matter of convenience to the residents of this small New England town.

“If you want to buy a bottle of milk or even the newspaper, you have to leave Harvard,” she said. “Now, anybody that wants to get a coffee and a muffin before work, we’ll be here.”

The store has quickly become the best place for local teens to apply for their summer jobs.

“It’s really offered them an opportunity to work in town,” she said. “They have taken so much pride in wanting to work here.”

Trying to sell products made locally, the General Store features breads from Abby Alpert, a baker in Harvard and Lunenburg’s Stillman Dairy products.

“Something we are trying to be very conscious of is getting stuff close to home,” she said. “We’re trying to get all our products as local as possible and as natural as possible.”

The General Store even carries supplies for the many cyclists in town.

Along with providing the locals with supplies they need, the Horowitzes have decided to open their second floor as a gallery, with the help of Harvard resident and former Clark Gallery in Lincoln owner and director Pamela Cochrane.

“This is an exhibition space,” Cochrane said. “People can come in, look around, have some dialogue and then leave.”

The first exhibition will feature the paintings “precious — a year of looking at my stuff” of Gail Martin, of Lexington.

“(The Horowitzes) wanted a place that’s interactive,” Cochrane said. “Lyn has such a fabulous eye for art and once I saw this space, I encouraged her to have a gallery.”

Horowitz is looking into having poetry readings or live musical entertainment along with the gallery, but for right now neither the store nor the gallery is allowed to have any seating, due to the septic system.

“We have a lot of plans, once we get the new septic system in place,” she said. “We did all the electrical and plumbing in the first phase (along with the remodeling). For the second phase it will be the septic system, which would allow us to expand the kitchen and create a seating area both downstairs in the store and up here, on the second floor.”

No plans have been set for the third floor at the moment, but that could change based on the success of the store and the gallery, with the new septic system.

The General Store is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on weekends 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The gallery will host viewing hours of Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Thursday afternoons from 3 to 7 p.m.

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