Parkland Beach General Store owners Robert and Jill Mitchell want to rejoin their children and grandchildren in England. (Contributed photo).

Central Alberta rural general store to be auctioned off to highest bidder

Bids on the Parkland Beach General Store close on Aug. 28

Gull Lake-area business owners are trying to beat a lacklustre real estate market by auctioning off their Parkland Beach General Store and residence online.

Jill and Robert Mitchell have been trying to sell their half-acre property for the past three years and came close several times. But they said the deals fell through over financing.

Anxious to return to their native U.K. to rejoin their children and grandchildren, the couple have placed their property on clubbid.com with a starting bid of $295,000.

If somebody purchases the store and residence for that price, they will be getting quite a deal, said Robert. He noted the property, including an 1,800-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home, has been assessed at $500,000.

“If the market was good, we might have even got $600,000 for it,” he added — but property sales are far from booming in this tough economy.

The couple has been running the general store on the northwest side of the lake since 2008. At the time, their son and daughter were older teenagers.

Now, they are adults who have gone back to England to live — prompting the Mitchells to make an emotional decision.

A tearful Jill said the people they know around Gull Lake are like their Canadian family.

“We’ve seen a lot of youngsters grow up… and they don’t want to see us go…”

While she and her husband have mixed feelings about moving away, “we have our own family members waiting for us (in the U.K.), and they miss us,” so the pull to return to England is strong, she added.

The Mitchells are listing the store in the Parkland Beach municipality as a year-round business with strong summer (boating, camping) and winter (ice fishing, snowmobiling) seasons.

The general store comes with an off-sales liquor licence, ATM machine, a covered picnic area, and private attached residence with triple-car garage, a campsite with indoor showers, seasonal guest “bunk house,” onsite coin-op laundry and nearby direct access to Gull Lake.

Besides providing some grocery items, the store has offered hot and cold drinks, walk-up meals (it has a fast-food kitchen), ice cream, liquor sales, fishing bait, ice, bottled water and other supplies.

The couple, who will give scheduled viewings of the property, moved to Canada 16 years ago for the great outdoors.

Robert is a qualified mountain leader in the U.K. — a career he’s considering re-establishing. Jill is a qualified youth worker.

“We will miss the mountains and the Canadian landscapes,” said Robert.

“We’ll really miss the people,” added Jill. “Saying goodbye is going to be quite a big deal.”

Online bids on their store, house and property will close at 2 p.m. on Aug. 28.

Jill said they plan to keep the store open over the Labour Day long weekend.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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