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June 16, 2017

A Pine Barrens landmark is closing Saturday for good – after one last sale

Buzby's General Store anchored John McPhee's classic 1968 book about the pinelands

There’s gonna be a hole in heart of the Pine Barrens come Saturday evening.

Unable to find a buyer, Buzby’s General Store, a landmark slice of Americana in the heart of the Pine Barrens, will close after one last day.

Marilyn Schmidt, Buzby’s owner since 1998, has had the Chatsworth building and business for sale for five years.

The building is listed on the state and federal registries of historic places. It was built in 1865 at the intersection of Routes 532 and 563, in the center of Chatsworth, a tiny village of about 300 people. (You may have stopped by the popular Hot Diggedy Dog stand across the street on your way to Long Beach Island.)

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Buzby's General Store has served as a central gathering spot in the heart of Chatsworth in the Pine Barrens for more than 150 years. The current owner is clearing out the store Saturday, then closing down.

The Buzby family owned the building and ran a general store there for its first 102 years.

A cancer survivor with other health issues, Schmidt, a pinelands booster, local history publisher and author, closed the store about a year ago.

Now she’s letting go entirely, selling the contents – books, collectibles and furnishings – from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Bring cash: there are no refunds or returns.

The store – and the gossip he heard there – altered John McPhee’s plan for the reporting his classic 1968 book, The Pine Barrens.

“Buzby’s changed the structure and the reality of the story,” McPhee said when the store first went on the market. McPhee spent months observing locals from a now long-gone seat on a wood plank placed over a radiator in the store, which then sold gas and food.

On Thursday, McPhee said: “Marilyn has been wonderful in maintaining the store all these years, and I surely hope it will remain the landmark it is.”