Contributed photo
Shaw Store front.

Contributed photo Shaw Store front.

Nonprofit aims to purchase the Shaw General Store

  • Sat Jan 23rd, 2021 1:30am
  • News

Submitted by the Save the Shaw Store Board of Directors

Imagine the Shaw General Store open seven days a week, year-round, managed by the Orcas Food Co-op. Imagine the store property owned by a community non-profit organization, self-supporting through the store, the marina, and other revenue sources on the property.

This could soon be the reality if a community effort to buy the store property is successful. For over 100 years, the Shaw Store has been a hub: folks congregate, catch up, chat, check the mail, do the laundry, buy chicken feed, or buy excellent island produce and fine local brews. Now, Save the Shaw Store , a freshly formed nonprofit is raising money to purchase the property and ensure it continues on in perpetuity.

The organization recently negotiated a letter of agreement with the Masons (the current property owners) and with the Orcas Food Co-op. The agreement establishes the basic terms of the purchase: The Masons will sell the store buildings, warehouse, marina, and — eventually ­— the cabin property to the east of the store to Save the Shaw Store for a good price; the Orcas Food Co-op will lease the store facilities to continue its operations for the Shaw community; the Masons will help the co-op get established in the store and will work with them on the ferry.

A similar project on Orcas provides an example of how this structure of community-ownership can be successful. In January 2020, Friends of the Olga Store Building, a non-profit, purchased the historic Olga Store Building to save the property from potential development and to house the Olga Post Office and a store. The store portion will be operated by the Orcas Food Co-op, and is expected to open in its new form this spring.

Save the Shaw Store is hoping to pull off a similar success story. The Masons do want the store to remain a store, and they do want the properties to continue as an asset benefiting the Shaw community. The Masons are generously and carefully working with Save the Shaw Store to give the community this chance to make it all work.

Save the Shaw Store must gather approximately $1 million dollars in donation pledges for the downpayment on the property. There are many opportunities to get involved in this project, both by giving a financial gift to this campaign, joining the board, and by volunteering to work on this project with us through construction, outreach, and more. Visit www.savetheshawstore.org for more info and to make a pledge and join the email list!

If interested in further details please contact: Jennifer Swanson, Save the Shaw Store Board President, jenswanson@hotmail.com; Anne Wysocki, STSS Board Member, annefranceswysocki@gmail.com; Learner Limbach, Orcas Food Co-op GM, STSS Board Member learner@orcasfood.coop.