By: Mike Anderson
Built-in 1860, and converted into a general store in 1895, the Udora General Store is one of the oldest operating general stores in Canada.
Lucy Maud Montgomery, the celebrated author of Anne of Green Gables and a nearby Leaskdale resident, may have been a customer.
However, Ms. Montgomery, as the wife of a Presbyterian minister, would be spinning in her grave if she knew the general store now sells the Devil’s Brew, beverage alcohol.
The Udora General Store is the latest store in Georgina to be awarded a license to operate an LCBO Convenience Outlet, and that has owner Sylvia Lents, store manager Tracey Schier, and their customers very happy indeed.
Opening day was December 16, and the first product sold was a 750 mL bottle of Baileys Original Irish Cream.
“The customers were giggling so much it made me laugh,” says Ms. Schier. “They were so excited that liquor was here. People came to buy stuff, saw the liquor and went home without what they came for. They came back 10 minutes later for their cream.”
Ms. Lents says selling beverage alcohol has helped double her overall sales, which is a significant boost in the usually slow winter months.
“It’s been a big hit. It’s a lot more convenient,” says Ms. Lents. “We’ve seen a lot of new faces. And customers tend to buy other things when they come in for liquor, like pop and cigarettes.”
Ms. Lents says one customer came up with a new name for the store. Instead of the “beer store,” he calls it the “near store”. “That was awesome. I might even make a sign that says that,” she says.
While it’s no match for an LCBO store, the Udora General Store offers a generous selection of wines, spirits and beer. There’s even a cooler for chilled products. And Ms. Lents is keeping a list of her customer’s favourites to fine-tune her assortment.
Ted Lewis, a Udora resident and long-time customer, is happy he doesn’t have to drive to Uxbridge for his favourite tipple, saving him driving time and gas.
“If somebody drops over and you’re out of wine, or maybe you want to make them a Bloody Caesar or something like that, instead of having to drive 15 to 20 minutes, it’s right here,” he says. “If I want a big selection, I’ll go to one of the LCBO stores, but this has got pretty much everything you need.”
You can find the Udora General Store at 9 Victoria Rd., at the intersection of Ravenshoe Rd. and Victoria Rd. LCBO outlet hours are 9 AM to 9 PM, Monday to Friday, Weekends, 9 AM to 9 PM.