Old-time general store with modern offerings under new ownership

  • New Royalston Country Store owners Heather Golding and Rob Sylvester will be having a Grand Opening during the First Annual South Village Fall Fair to be held at Park Circle in South Royalston on Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Athol Daily News/Kathy Chaisson

  • New Royalston Country Store owners Heather Golding and Rob Sylvester will be having a Grand Opening during the First Annual South Village Fall Fair to be held at Park Circle in South Royalston on Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Athol Daily News/Kathy Chaisson

  • The Royalston Country Store will start having regular dinner specials soon. —Athol Daily News/Kathy Chaisson

Staff Writer
Published: 9/27/2019 9:50:18 PM
Modified: 9/27/2019 9:50:10 PM

ROYALSTON – Three men sat at the mosaic-patterned round table sharing stories next to a chalkboard covered with colorful listings of “all day” breakfast menu items that include “Chris’ Big Boy,” and “Dave’s Highway.” Heather Golding was in the kitchen area making a sandwich for a pickup order.

The Royalston Country Store, for many years a staple in the South Village, epitomizes a small town, old-time general store with modern offerings, inside seating for about 20 people and two inviting benches out on the front porch.

Golding and Rob Sylvester purchased the store from longtime owners Tom and Pat Bushee on Aug. 9, and opened it 10 days later. A grand opening will be held during the First Annual South Village Fall Fair on Oct. 5. Golding said that while she and Sylvester want the focus to be on the festival, “it gives us the opportunity to let people know we’re here.”

The couple never owned a store before but both have a lot of experience in food services in various capacities, Golding said. “We literally started from scratch.” No major renovations were needed but they did some repainting, remodeling and are working on minor repairs.

Word of mouth has been “really pretty good,” Golding said. The regulars continue to frequent the store under the new ownership. “We have a good crowd for breakfast every day,” she said, adding that the breakfast prices are going to be lowered.

Golding said they are still connecting with local suppliers and artisans. Patrons are encouraged to write their suggestions on a clipboard. One surprisingly popular request was for pickles and now the store stocks Stretch’s Pickles from Westminster. It also carries Dean’s Beans coffee from Orange, and doughnuts from the Red Apple Farm in Phillipston.

In addition to ham, turkey and roast beef subs, “coming soon,” Golding said, will be regular dinner specials like fish ‘n’ chips, spaghetti and meatballs, soups, and “in the short term,” pizza. She said the “Steak Bomb” has become the store’s signature sandwich. “It’s by far our best selling item on the menu.”

Golding said they’re not going to obtain a pouring license to serve alcohol on the premises, but they do have a full liquor license and sell an expanded selection of locally brewed beers. They’ve cut back on grocery items that aren’t big sellers and are sticking with milk, eggs and bread as well as cigarettes, lottery, and candy. Sylvester, a “huge” gardener, will provide much of the produce.

The pair will also be working on expanding their customer base to hikers and campers. Golding said the store will remain a check-in station for hunters.

The Royalston Country Store is located at 21 Main St. and is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 978-249-9798 or visit the store’s Facebook page.

The First Annual Fall Festival, planned by the Royalston South Village Revitalization Committee, will take place on Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Park Circle in South Royalston. For more information, contact Nancy Monette at 978-249-3694 or mimimonette@aol.com.


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