As Seen in The Westerly Sun
July 11, 2016 12:00AM
By Brooke Constance White Sun staff writer
NOANK — It was a sad day in Noank when Carson’s Store closed in 2014.
Much to the delight of locals, the general store, which had been a staple in the community since the Carson family started it in 1907, reopened less than a year later under the management of Andrew Blacker, whose father has owned the store since 1978. The decision to carry on the store’s legacy was an easy one for the recent college grad, who grew up two houses over from it and had his first job there when he was 12.
It was clear to Blacker that the store was an integral part of the tight-knit community and could continue on as a hidden gem for many more years.
“For my entire life, I had grown up with Carson’s as a big part of my life,” he said. “I didn’t want to see it closed. It has already been going for this long, it just seemed right to keep it open. It’s a part of Noank.”
Because he had worked under five different managers, Blacker knew what worked and what didn’t and felt that he had the experience necessary to make the place a success once again.
Although the well-known establishment has changed a lot over the years, it’s still the heart and soul of the community.
When Blacker’s father first moved to Noank, Carson’s was a convenience store that sold cigarettes, batteries, postcards, grinders, ice cream etc. There was a boarding house to the left of the store that housed workers from the old Palmer shipyard, now the site of Noank shipyard. Shipyard workers would drop off a bean pot in the morning and pick it up, full of beans, at noontime.
Although Carson’s still offers sandwiches and drinks, over the years it has transitioned away from the general store atmosphere and more toward a breakfast and lunch restaurant, and ice cream parlor.
Blacker, who also serves as head chef, is all about supporting local businesses and has made it his goal to integrate as much local produce and seafood into the menu as he can.
When the store first opened just after the turn of the century, it was located at the foot of Main Street by the town dock before it was moved to the opposite end of street. According to Blacker, the general store moved to it’s current location at 43 Main Street around 1918.
The building the store is now in was originally the summer kitchen of the house next door to the store and was dragged by a team of mules over cedar posts from the back yard up to where it sits now near the street.
“My father bought the store in 1978 and the structure was in pretty rough shape so he restored the building and dug out a basement below the store because it had been just sitting on the ground,” he said. “Eventually the kitchen was added and the store evolved into more of a restaurant.”
Blacker is thrilled that the beloved establishment is again thriving in the village and hopes it will continue on for years to come.