A Cape Breton store that closed after serving a small town for 50 years has reopened, keeping one man's legacy alive.

For 50 years George Haggett stood over coolers — scooping out ice cream for customers and selling milk and bread in the community of Georges River — 12-hours a day, seven-days a week.

Haggett’s daughter Rachel said the store was only ever closed one day out of the whole year.

"Christmas Day, and still we would get knocks on the door for cigarettes or pop or whatever people needed even Christmas Day," she said. "And he would come over and get it."


Mary Jackson's son Mark is the new owner of George's Country Convenience in Georges River, not far from North Sydney. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

He kept the store open up until two days before his death from cancer last June.

"Oh, it was a shock really," said Haggett’s nephew Stephen Finney. "Because you could come in and have a little chat with George but that was gone."

Finney is now working behind the counter in the store, one in a small legion of relatives helping the new owner, Mark Jackson.

Jackson, reopened the store from his home in Fort McMurray and renamed it in honour of the man who started it all.

It’s now called George's Country Convenience.

"As our family grows and my family back home gets older, we tend to want to migrate back home and we want to build our roots back there again," said Jackson.

He said he hopes to one day move back home and work behind the counter himself. But for now he is counting on family and community to keep Haggett's legacy alive.

"The community needs a store and we need the healing," said Haggett’s daughter. "I think Dad would have wanted it open."