A person passing through Searsmont, whether a local, a resident of one of the many camps in the area or an out-and-out tourist, can find just about any necessity at the Fraternity Village General Store on Route 131 in the center of town. Whether it’s gas for the car, pizza, sandwiches and soda for the kids or fishing lures for that old spinning rod in the back seat, Fraternity Village has it. There’s even a public phone.

Proprietor Ken “Jake” Jacobsen, a Thomaston native who now lives in Appleton, has owned the store for 16 years, and puts in an average of 60 or more hours a week there, he said. Between full- and part-timers, he has eight employees, and is open every day of the year for at least a half-day. Most days he opens at 5 a.m. and doesn’t close until 8 or 9 at night.

And Fraternity Village isn’t Jacobsen’s only business. He and his wife also own Apple Ridge Farm, a riding stable in Appleton that gives lessons.

Jacobsen worked for a number of years for Aqua Maine in Rockland; when he was ready for something new in the mid-1980s, Jeff and Mary Ann Lord, the previous owners of Fraternity Village, were ready to sell the store, and he bought it.

It was the Lords, Jacobsen said, who added onto the store, expanding it from its original 1837 footprint, which now comprises just the front room, where there are tables for customers to sit and enjoy their coffee, sandwiches and pizza ordered from the kitchen.

The Lords also gave the store its name, in honor of the fictional stories about rural Maine written between 1920 and 1940 by Ben Ames Williams, in which Searsmont appeared as the town of Fraternity Village.

The store has a selection of groceries, movies for rent, beer and wine, as well as work gloves, fishing tackle and children’s toys. “We try to do a little bit of everything,” Jacobson said. He added that the store is known for its friendliness, and draws customers from some distance for its steak bomb sandwiches and pizza. He enjoys talking to the people who come in, and especially likes seeing the children who come into the store grow from one year to the next.

In the summer, the store has barbecues on Saturdays, he said, and people come and eat on the store’s front porch.

He said he likes being part of the community, and makes an effort to contribute to community events, like the Memorial Day parade.

Despite the store’s aura of rural folksiness, though, Jacobsen has not let technology pass him by: there is also Wi-Fi for customers who want to bring their laptops and cruise the Internet while sipping their coffee.

Still, some things haven’t changed from the days chronicled by Ben Ames Williams. Searsmont residents still call the store to find out what’s going on, Jacobsen said, or when a dog is lost.

“We probably know all the dogs in Searsmont,” he said.