North Country couple transforms church into general store

New York

The church had been sitting empty for five years, and when it finally became available, Michelle and Rob Timmons knew they had to see it. 

The idea to transform the abandoned chapel in Au Sable Forks into Black Brook General Store came from Rob’s father about five years ago, says Michelle. They initially didn’t think that would work. But that changed when they saw it.

“We came and looked at the building and fell in love with the stained glass windows and thought it would be the perfect spot,” she said. 

The church was originally built in 1876 and served many parishes throughout its time. Rob Timmons says that created challenges in the renovation process. 

“We did have to restructure the whole floor once the pews were taken out — you could see how far the floors were off of level,” he said. “It was kind of like an open slate because it was completely empty as opposed to a building with interior walls, we were really walking out into an open space and it was somewhat easy actually.”

The couple agrees that their favorite part of the store is the stained glass windows. 

Michelle said the store fills a need for residents of Black Brook and Au Sable Forks.

“We’re really happy to be a resource for the community,” she said. “We have a lot of local people that are here every day, and some of them a couple of times a day, it obviously something that’s been needed.” 

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