2014-01-29 / News

Largent losing a landmark

by Jazz Clark


Even with the heating system down, Joe Decker braved the cold and kept Stoney Creek Country Store open in the final days before his retirement on January 31. Even with the heating system down, Joe Decker braved the cold and kept Stoney Creek Country Store open in the final days before his retirement on January 31. For the last 17 years, Joe Decker has run Stoney Creek Country Store in Largent. This Friday, January 31, Decker is closing up shop to retire.

He officially opened up shop in October of 1996, though he started renting the space a few months earlier. There have been no other stores in Largent during that time, he said. Before Decker moved in, the store went through multiple incarnations as grocery stores, a post office, a gas station, and even a bar.

Assorted grocery items sat in corners as Decker sold off the last few items in his cold store during his out-of-business sale this last week. Even so, he had nothing but good memories of his years in business.

“It’s the people that kept me coming back,” he admitted. “There were always a few colorful characters who hung out at the shop.”


This century-old building has been the home of Stoney Creek Country Store for the last 17 years, and everything from a post office to a gas station before. This century-old building has been the home of Stoney Creek Country Store for the last 17 years, and everything from a post office to a gas station before. Because the shop hasn’t just been a place to buy groceries in Largent, he said. It was also a meeting place.

He would always have someone calling him up for information, or sticking around to eat at the deli, or just coming over to talk about their latest hunting exploits.

Some of his more popular deli items included steak fajitas and subs, cold cuts and even pizza.

Decker said he owes a lot of credit to two of his workers in particular, Sue Corbin and Barb Kendall. Back when Stoney Creek was really busy, they would always lend a hand.

He even had the records of every deer kill brought in to the store since 1996 propped against his wall in the final week of business.

Plus, he has family in other parts of the country that he needs to visit, he said.

“The store needs new energy, new people and new money,” Decker said. “But if someone else takes over, I’ll be a regular customer. I’m a Largent resident too.”

Unfortunately, every time Decker goes down Route 9 through Largent, he sees numerous abandoned houses, he said.

“There are a lot of second-home owners in the area, and that meant very few customers in the winter months,” Decker said.

Even the U.S. Census does not have exact population numbers for the village of Largent.

Still, Decker crossed his fingers in hopes that someone else would reopen the shop. He has a few pages of interested individuals in his notebook already.

“It’s strange really, I feel like I just opened yesterday. Time really flew,” said Decker. “I’ll miss everyone, but I’ll still be around, even if the store isn’t. I don’t plan on sitting in a rocking chair for the rest of my life,” said Decker.

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