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Patterson General Store to pass to fourth-generation family owners

By Kendra Caruso | Apr 28, 2021
Photo by: Kendra Caruso Dion, left, and Devin Rossignol pose behind the counter of Patterson General Store April 24 as the fourth generation to own the business.

Burnham — Siblings Dion and Devin Rossignol will become the fourth-generation owners of Patterson General Store. It has been in the family for 86 years, Devin said. The store’s name comes from their great-grandparents, whose last name was Patterson.

The building itself was an old farmhouse that had a barn attached, which burned down, according to Devin. He and his sister have memories of visiting the store as children when their grandparents, Beatrice and Ernest Kenney, ran it.

Dion has worked at the store for their uncle Brian Kenney for 20 years, she said. She used to bring her children to open the store in the morning before school, where they would get on the bus. When her daughter was older, she helped Dion in the kitchen before getting on the bus.

They know most of their customers by name and they try to keep the lowest gas prices in the area, Dion said. The store is situated on a four-way intersection near an ATV trail, the Town Office and the Winnecook Christian Church. The church is on land donated by the siblings’ Patterson relatives.

Devin has always dreamed of owning the place, even though he has not lived in his hometown for over 15 years. He is excited to be able to spend more time in the area, he said.

The store has always been more to the community than just a place to buy gas and get a convenient food item, they said. It is not unusual to field calls from residents asking questions about Town Office hours, town happenings or town gossip.

Before the pandemic prevented gatherings, a group of residents would come in each morning and “solve the world’s problems” over coffee, Dion said. She hopes to see customers being able to gather at the store again after the pandemic is over.

For some people, the store is their only convenient access to food or other necessary items. The owners allow some people to keep a charge account to be paid off on a monthly basis. The Rossignols said they do not intend to change that immediately.

There are some days when Dion feels like she is acting as a counselor of sorts to customers, she said. The same divisive politics seen nationally occur among Burnham residents. Owning the store has put them in a position where they take a neutral stance on politics, Dion said. If you upset one customer, it might result in losing business from a whole family in town.

“If you upset someone in a family, then you might not see them in for a little while,” Devin said.

“We’ve had political fights in here before and you have to just kind of be impartial, whether you really want to or not,” Dion added. “There’s two very distinct sides, even in this town.”

Usually she will divert the conversation to sports, which generally leads tp a friendlier dispute between residents, she said. “I just say ‘how about those Red Sox?’ Usually everyone likes the Red Sox,” Dion said.

“Usually people can fight about sports and be OK,” Devin said.

The Rossignols do not intend to make any major changes after they take over the store, Dion said. She hopes to enlarge the dining area and expand the menu offerings, but there will be no initial changes. They have been fielding advice from customers about changes they would like to see, like offering ice cream.

They will retain a current employee and hope to hire two more employees to work in the kitchen, they said. Both Devin and Dion are excited to have their families working in the store and hope to pass the business on to one of their descendants when they decide to retire.

Devin hopes the store can be a place to bring the community together, he said. He wants to start hosting family sporting events like the ones he participated in growing up. Dion hopes the store will be known as a place to get good food and cheap gas, she said.

“Ever since the possibility came up a few years ago I’ve been super excited about it,” Devin said. “And I’m just ready to go and dive in.”

Mica Morris-Rossignol, 13, helps paint the deck at Patterson General Store April 24. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
Caleb Rossignol stands on the side of the porch at Patterson General Store April 24, painting the top of the deck. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
Jesse Morris, left, and Leo Morris-Rossignol paint the deck at Patterson General Store April 24. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
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