Everything has its center, and for the towns that form Lincoln County there are debates about where, or even who, that is for each.
However, this summer, in the small, tight-knit fishing village of Round Pond, its debate may have been settled when King Ro Market closed its iconic doors in May and residents felt an unfamiliar wobble.
Co-owners Lori Crook and B.J. Russell made the hard decision to step away from operating the business in 2019 and sought a suitable replacement to run the business.
After an unsuccessful, multi-year search, they closed the doors to the building this spring for only the second time in the structure’s almost 150-year history.
The community felt unbalanced in its first summer in nearly 50 years without King Ro; its absence was felt deeply in the daily lives of Round Pond residents, reflecting a broader truth about the role, and necessity, of communal spaces in our lives, and with the winter looming ahead, the prospect of that changing seemed uncertain.
Cut to Friday, Oct. 27 when Round Pond residents collectively exhaled when local Steve Brackett signed a lease with Crook and Russell to run the store, promising to preserve the things Crook and Russell did so well, providing place for fuel, pizza, conversation, and the other necessities that make the winter warmer, while also leaving room to make some exciting changes for the future.
With King Ro returned and set to open before Christmas, we at The Lincoln County News find ourselves in a moment of gratitude for all of our community centers and want to thank the residents of Lincoln County for their part in forming them. This place is special, we know you know that, and good community is hard, diligent work, but its reward is something like kindness, and that collective feeling of familiarity that makes somewhere home.
For those who find themselves in Round Pond in the near future, we recommend driving the speed limit, windows down, past the store on Route 32 for the chance to hear the thump of hammers on nails as Brackett and company get ready to open.
To the untrained ear it may sound like renovation and construction, but those who live here will know that sound as a pulse.