GROTON -- It's been a roller coaster of a year for Janet Shea, the new owner of Clover Farm General Store.
It began with moving her beloved Country Village Yarn Shop from 6 Main St. in West Groton to the back room at the Clover Farm Market at 9 West Main St. Before things were even unpacked, Janet slipped on the icy steps of the West Groton post office and ended up in rehab, sick and sore for almost five months. By summer's end, she became the new and very happy owner of the market, which she has renamed Clover Farm General Store.
"I bought this building," she announced, "So I wouldn't have to move my yarn shop ever again!"
Janet is a consummate people-focused shopkeeper; a gentle, friendly, funny, good sport sort of gal with whom kids and adults of all ages stop in just to share some time. Everyone always buys something, but after spending an hour with her one day after the school bus pulled away, I realized that shopping in her store is pretty much a ruse just to come in and visit with Janet. After all, you can't just plop on one of her comfortable rockers and shoot the breeze, can you?
Born in Somerville, she moved to Shirley and then moved to West Groton in 1968, where she's lived right next door to the General Store ever since. "Gee, my zinnias are doing really good," she commented after looking at her yard out of her large store windows. "I could come to work on a zipline!"
Stepping into Clover Farm is like stepping back five decades. There's the interesting selection of penny candy, popsicles and ice cream treats, fresh-made and wrapped deli sandwiches from Groton's Country Butcher & Deli, all kinds of cookies, a cooler of beverages, milk and eggs, local newspapers and a big puzzle that is a work in progress to which customers can't resist adding a few pieces. The only new-fangled things in this spacious, welcoming store are gluten-free goodies from Annie's bakery in Shirley, and a wonderful pod coffee brewing system that let's you choose your brand and flavor of coffee or tea and brew it while you wait three minutes. She says she will offer wine and beer soon.
The yarn portion of the store takes up about half the space and there's a giant oak table where friends and "knitters of the round table" gather to work, talk and sip tea together or to take a class. Superb knitted sweaters, scarves and other homey, warm clothing is on display, and I can imagine what welcome gifts these works of art would be.
This area is overflowing with yarns and threads and would prove to be every cat's delight. Shopping that day were Frederica and Ken, relatives of Earhart Muller, a 103-year-old who resides at RiverCourt. They had traveled from the redwood forests of California to visit and were buying yarn to take back with them. While Frederica browsed and bought, Ken enjoyed the puzzle and the local papers. "I really like places like this," he said smiling. "They really take you back to everything wonderful don't they?"
The Clover Farm General Store is open every day from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (except Sunday), 978-448-YARN.