By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Tuesday, November 1, 2005
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
[Photo by Jamie Cohen]
HAMPTON -- After 81 years, Colt News Store, one of the last stores that represented old downtown Hampton, will soon be going out of business.
Owner Al Casassa announced on Monday the store will close on Dec. 31 and a "going out of business sale" will begin immediately.
Casassa called the decision difficult, as he, his late parents and grandmother had run Colt's for more than 61 years, seven days a week.
The family acquired the business in 1944 from David Colt, who started the business in 1924.
The store sells candy, greeting cards, stationery, party goods, knick-knacks and, of course, newspapers and magazines.
The store was once a huge local hangout when it contained a very popular soda fountain and lunch counter.
Those items were removed in 1976 to make room for greeting cards and other merchandise.
In a press release, Casassa said the closing "reflects the nature of change in Hampton's downtown based on, among other things, the increased traffic congestion on Route 1 and resulting changes in shopping habits."
"There is obvious sadness that goes along with this decision as generations of Hampton and surrounding area residents, as well as tourist passed through (the store's) doors," said Casassa.
Colt News joins other downtown stores in the last year that either closed or moved to another location.
Greg Dollarhide, owner of Seacoast Coin & Jewelry, said parking and traffic remain challenges to getting people to shop downtown.
That is one of the reason he moved his store out of the downtown area, he said.
Casassa said he "wants to thank all the customers and townspeople who have supported the store over the last 61 years."
He noted "with special gratitude" long-time employees Glyn Eastman and Jean Power.
"Glyn Eastman who has been with the business for over 50 years was invaluable in all areas, with particular duties as manager of wholesale newspaper distribution," said Casassa. "Jean Power, the store manager for 20 years, has been instrumental in the daily operation of the retail store."