Port Republic landmark closes

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The Port Store PORT REPUBLIC– The Port Store was more than just a general store. It was really a cultural center of this tiny town, where people could catch up on the local news, gossip and munch on the best subs around.

But after 35 years, the owners decided to close its doors, Sunday, Aug. 3.

“You can’t go on forever. Basically that’s it. We decided to pack it in and go on with the rest of our lives,” Co-owner Skip Cavileer said with sadness on Monday, Aug. 4.

He spent much of Monday morning removing items from the storefront, transforming what was a meeting room of sorts, into just another building.

Cavileer, who, with his wife Mickie, have owned the landmark at 205 Clarks Landing Rd., for all 35 years said, “It’s time for us to retire. I’ll be 64 next week.”

The Port Store was a key part of the community. Mayor Gary Giberson recalled memories of the historic storefront on Monday, Aug. 4. He said people would do much more than just shop for a loaf of bread or a gallon milk. 

It was really an integral part of the lifestyle of many Port Republic residents.

“It is very sad for Port Republic because it was so convenient to have the Port store. It was nice because you met your neighbors there. I always told Skip and Mickie, ‘You have your own town council here.’ They had tables there where you could sit and talk about politics, community affairs and catch up on the latest gossip,” Giberson said. “We definitely will miss it. It was a landmark. Now you have the 711s and the Wawas. This store was really unique and it’s sad to see it go. So many mom and pop shops are going out of business.”

When it came to some of the Port Store specialties like a great cup of coffee or a sub, the chains could not compete.

“The Port Store sub was unbeatable. White House Subs in Atlantic City makes a good sub, but not as good as the Port Store – especially the “Port Special”. It must have had a full pound of lunch meat on it. You could order it for when you were having company, cut it into four pieces and make four sandwiches. When you bit into it you knew it was special.”

The Cavileers spent more than three decades serving the residents good eats. The Port Republic volunteer Fire Company decided to return the favor. Members gave the Cavileers a farewell party on Saturday, Aug. 2. A flyer was put in the mailboxes of all of the residents, asking everyone to attend.

Many residents came out to bid goodbye to their favorite store and wish the Cavileers good luck.

“It was big surprise. The fire company brought over homemade food that filled an entire table. There were so many residents there. It is people like that who make all of this easier,” Cavileer said of the strong showing of community support for him and his wife.

The storefront, which also houses the town’s post office, is not for sale at this time. And at least for now the couple still lives in an apartment above the store, Cavileer said.

The Port Store was a meeting place, a general store, a place where people shared a great cup of coffee and a one-of-a-kind sub. The era is over, but for the residents who enjoyed the store for so many years, it will be remembered fondly.

And who knows what the future holds. Another store might pop up there, Cavileer said.

One thing is certain: nothing could replace the Port Store.

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