Children of former grocery owners to share Shelburne shopping memories on Monday

Photo courtesy of Shelburne Historical Society
The Doenges & Towle IGA – with gas pumps.

By Rosalyn Graham
Do you remember when the IGA store stood at the corner of Route 7 and Harbor Road in Shelburne? It was the center, not just of shopping, but of the community. And as a person who spent lots of time there as a child and teen remembers, you could buy everything from a fishing rod to a Beatles ’45.

That iconic grocery store was the Tracey & Maeck store for many years. It then belonged to the Mallorys, and on April 30, 1948, Charlie Towle and his partner Al Doenges bought it.

This year is the 70th anniversary of their grand opening, and Charlie Towle’s daughter, Linda Towle, who has many happy memories of growing up in Shelburne in the ’50s and ’60s, has gathered memories, stories, photographs, and even account books from the old store.

She visits Shelburne Monday, June 18, to share the story with those who remember those times, and those who wish they could.

“I’m looking forward to coming home, seeing friends, and hearing stories about Shelburne in the ‘50s,” she said.

Towle’s presentation starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Historic Town Hall. Towle, who now lives in Colorado, has an illustrated presentation about Doenges & Towle IGA. The store became Shelburne IGA in 1963 when Harry Clayton bought Mr. Doenges’ share of the business. In 1968, the grocery store moved to Shelburne Shopping Center and became Shelburne Super Market, so this year also marks that store’s 50th anniversary.

Linda will be joined in storytelling by Kevin Clayton, son of Harry Clayton, who for the last 15 years has been operating his popular Village Wine & Coffee business in the original grocery store building.

As a special addition to the historical program, Clayton will lead a tour of the newly renovated half of his building where he is expanding his wine and coffee shop.

The program is sponsored by Shelburne Historical Society. Admission is free (donations gratefully accepted). To share any pictures of the old store (inside or out) or memories of shopping in the store, contact LTowle@Q.com or dfpenar@comcast.net.

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