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General Store Opens in Cobden

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By Alexander Leach, Editor

Photo submitted or taken by Alexander Leach. Lakeside General Store’s storefront, located on highway 17 in Cobden.

COBDEN – Lakeside General Store opened its doors for the first time on July 10, on Highway 17 in Cobden, in a muted showing due to the oncoming restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“There’s been lots of people through.” Amber Finan, the store co-owner as well as part of the family business Grant Settlement Farms, on Grant Settlement Road, which includes the Maple Store and now, Lakeside General Store.

Photo submitted or taken by Alexander Leach. Amber Finan (left) and Mary Finan at the store counter. A framed glass window hangs in front of them to shield from any potential Covid-positive transmissions (via breath).

She said the store sells locally-made or sourced products, mostly, and their choice was based on their memories of the old General Store in their childhood.

“If it made us smile, it’s here.” she said.

The store features such local names as Pickle Vixens and Daily Dip, as well as products from Grant Settlement Farms.

“It’s good to promote other people and what they’re doing.” Amber said, siting the store’s location along the Trans-canada Highway as a major way to get cross-canada traffic to local merchants and tradespeople.

“It’s a way to let other Canadians have what we have to offer.”

Photo submitted or taken by Alexander Leach. Jason Finan, co-owner of Lakeside General
Store, wearing his mask to protect against Covid-19 spread.

Jason Finan, Amber’s husband, said that the current pandemic guidelines meant they opted for a more muted first day.

“We can’t do a grand opening with Covid-19.” he said. “We’re just doing a continual soft opening.”

“One of my earliest memories is going to a General Store. We wanted to bring that back, in a modern sense.”

He said that people have largely respected the store’s safety guidelines, such as a glass window seperating the customer and the cashier and mandatory face masks.

“I think it’s becoming part of our mindset.” he said.

The Province of Ontario opened Stage 3 of its pandemic guidelines on July 14th, allowing for greater leniency on gathering rules.

Their daughter, Mary Finan, manages a small bakery in the upper section of the shop, but also assists in all areas of the shop due to other special expertise.

“I’m the only one who knows how to work the debit machine.” she said, laughing.

The general store was originally made in 1963, according to the store’s website.

She also sells homemade dog treats at the Cobden Farmer’s Market.

Lakeside General Store is located at 17 Pembroke St. West in Cobden, Ontario.