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Richardson's Store When we heard that Richardson's Market was closing after 52 years, we knew something had to be done. Petitions circulated to keep the old store open at its ramshackle block in Portsmouth. Alcohol liability laws, it seems, were the kiss of death for the late night convenience store. Shop owners can now be personally fined up to $100,000 for alcohol sold to minors in the state of NH. The Richardson's, Louise and Basil, say it's just too risky to go on. Good help is hard to get too. The store recently suffered a fire or two or more. The building is crumbling. Besides a health food shop on the other side of town, Richardson's is (was) the ONLY surviving downtown grocery store. A flea market shop has moved in next door. The only Laundromat in town, such as it is, cowers at the back of the building.

In the spirit of Oliver Wendell Holmes, we spoke out with a little poem, penned at the request of the NH Gazette, "America's oldest newspaper." The poem brought a flood of nostalgic response. Now we hear our poem will be reprinted in part in this weekend's prestigious Boston Globe. And when we stopped by the store to take the following farewell pictures, there was our poem - clipped from the Gazette and taped in the window of Richardson's Market. (See photo below.) What greater praise could a poet wish for? -- JDR

See another OLD PORTSMOUTH STORE

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Farewell My Old State Street Store

Verses on the occasion of the closing of
the last old Portsmouth grocery store

To all the beer I purchased there
When night grew dark and late;
To all the food I bought well past
Its expiration date;

To all the times I hungered for
A meatloaf Hungry Man;
To all the fuzzy ice cream bars
And things inside a can;

To trash bags stapled high above
Ballooned with dripping rain;
To toilet tissue infinite
And amber aisles of grain.

To all the cookies I've imbibed
Still emanating heat,
Just lying on a paper bag
Back where they cut the meat.

To all the weirdoes I have met
While chatting on the stoop;
To all the times I've cashed a check
To buy some Campbell's soup.

To decades living smack downtown
Without another store,
Farewell sweet State Street friend of mine,
No one will miss you more.



By J. Dennis Robinson
Copyright © 2000 SeacoastNH.com

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Richardson's Store photo

Richardson's Store photo

Richardson's Store photo

Richardson's Store photo

Richardson's Store photo

Photos by J. Dennis Robinson
Copyright © 2000 SeacoastNH.com

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