Colton general store owner named Citizen of Year
Monday, February 7, 2011 - 2:29 pm

COLTON -- Businessman Bruce Ames was named Citizen of the Year at the Colton Winterfest.

Although he was not born and raised in Colton the impact he has had on the community since moving there has been outstanding, according to the selction committee. Born in July 1955, the son of Norma and the late Amarath Ames, he was one of seven children. He graduated from Canton High School in 1974, married Judy Fisher in 1977 and welcomed his daughter Simone in 1978. He had worked at the Potsdam Paper Mill, Collins Construction and Colton Building Supply, when in 1996 he bought a convenience store in Colton, to become known as Ames’ General Store, or, to most people in Colton, Bruce’s.

During the Ice Storm of ’98 he was open when no one else seemed to be providing food and fuel to a community in need, he made sure no one went without. Cars were lined up for blocks waiting for fuel for generators. When his supplies ran low he sent a convoy of four-wheel-drives to Tupper Lake to restock the essentials people needed.

He was a basketball, soccer and baseball coach at Colton-Pierrepont Central School. He has sponsored Little League teams and all school functions, and has held fund raisers at the store. He continues to support local groups with numerous donations.

His store is always a favorite stop at Halloween for area children who look forward to the candy he hands out. At Christmas time children’s eyes twinkle as Bruce invites Santa to stop by the store. The store closes one day a year, at Christmas, but the coffee pot is usually on early at the store on Christmas Day as area residents stop by to share greetings.

Whether people stop by at 3:30 a.m. to get morning coffee or later in the morning on the way to work, you can expect he will be there. His jokes and quick wit keep people coming back, the selection committee said.

In addition to being a devoted husband, father and grandfather, Bruce is also an avid sportsman. He shared that love with the teams he coached, whose members still stop by to visit. He continues to be an athlete himself, his love of softball spanning decades of playing on many teams in varying age divisions. For many years he played five nights a week with tournaments on weekends. He has played through a variety of injuries and resulting surgeries. His passion for his sport has allowed him to shrug off what for many would have been sport-ending injuries.

Ames has supported his community for the last 15 years, the committee said. His dedication far exceeds that of his ownership of the store. He has given generously of himself to the community, supporting youth, school activities, seniors, and families dealing with grief.