Norman’s sale nears closing

Realtor Sandy Hayes put a “sale pending” sign on Norman’s General Store in Bloomingdale over the weekend. He said the sale should be finalized by the end of the month. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

BLOOMINGDALE — The Norman’s General Store building on the corner of state Route 3 in Bloomingdale is closing in on a potential sale, according to Sandy Hayes, the realtor selling the property currently owned by the Niederbuhl family.

The two-store building, built in 1904, operated as a country store and general store all the way up until 2015, passing from founder M.B. Norman, to his daughter Mildred, to her daughter Norma and son-in-law Art Niederbuhl Sr.

Both Hayes and Kristina Clifford of Say Real Estate, who is representing the buyer, said the buyer did not want to share much information publicly until the sale was finalized.

Hayes said the buyer is a “contractor, among other things” who plans to have his offices in part of the building, but Hayes is not sure what his plans are with the rest. Hayes and Clifford said they expect to close on the sale by the end of the month.

The sale has been pending for a couple of months, Hayes said, but he finally felt confident enough in the closing to put up a “sale pending” sign over the weekend. Ever since then, people have been accosting him everywhere he goes asking “What’s going in at Norman’s?”

Realtor Sandy Hayes stands at the former counter of Norman’s General Store in Bloomingdale on Thursday. The building, one of the most prominent in town, is potentially reaching a sale by the end of the month. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

“There’s a lot of interest in the four-corners,” he said. “It’s a piece of Bloomingdale history.”

But, in lieu of any answers, he jokingly tells them it’s a “topless bar.”

Hayes said he looks forward to seeing the building cleaned up. He said the insides are practically all original from 120 years ago — all the wood and the shelves. The only new things are the modern appliances and conveniences.

The general store was open for 110 years, closing soon after Norma’s death. Hayes remembers it as a gathering place.

He pointed to a raised area of the floor near the back of the main room. He said it shows exactly where the cash register counter stood. The raised area is where the floor was originally. Over the years, so many people stood in front of and behind the register, they warped the wooden floorboards, curling them into short ramps, leading up to where the counter was.

A stained glass piece depicting Norman’s General Store in Bloomingdale hangs above the front door of the store. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

“That’s a good sign that they did a lot of business,” Hayes said.

He said he grew up in the apartments across the intersection and must have been at that register hundreds and hundreds of times.

Hayes recalls meeting in a back corner with a handful of his friends every weekday morning, where they would drink coffee and “swap lies.”

Starting as the area’s only market, Norman’s expanded into clothing sales and then added a local butcher shop, renowned for its meats and cheeses. It kept the Great Camps of the area stocked, including the Rockefeller, Stone Lehman, Colgate estates, the Loon Lake Hotel and the St. Lawrence University camps, according to a 2015 article written by Diane Chase in Adirondack Living.

The building, with just below 50,000 square feet of space, was used as office space by Niederbuhl Bros Tree Service for a time, and has most recently been on sale for around a year, Hayes said. He said there had been a couple of false starts with prospective restaurants before that. But they got overwhelmed with the costs of renovating the place and bringing it up to health department code enough to put a kitchen in there.

A 1968 price list for shoes is seen in the second floor of Norman’s General Store in Bloomingdale on Thursday, with prices ranging from $3.40 to $8 — which would be $30.77 to $72.39 today, after adjusting for inflation. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

A rope-operated freight elevator still leads from the basement to the top floor.

In the past five years, Bloomingdale has had a new slate of businesses or new owners for businesses — the Hex and Hop brewery, the Step-Mother Nature art gallery, the Black Dog Records shop, the Lil’ Tykes Daycare, ADK Solar, Teddy’s Ice Cream and Grill and Dollar General.

A look inside Norman's General Store in Bloomingdale on Thursday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

A look inside Norman's General Store in Bloomingdale on Thursday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)


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