In Vt., Neighbors Organize to Save Local Stores

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Barnard

August 8, 2012; Source: Seven Days

There has been a movement afoot in Vermont to resist an incursion of big national stores and to save local stores through organizing. This story in Seven Days covers the efforts of volunteers in Barnard, Vt. to save the 180-year-old Barnard General Store, which had fallen on hard times as a result of a double whammy: the flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and a close-to-snowless winter, which reduced the customer base because there were less skiers around. But the town’s 950 or so year-round residents are set on saving the local establishment and are working through the Barnard Community Trust, which was founded in order to help preserve the store. Volunteers and partners are rallying and have asked for help from Preservation Trust of Vermont, which has helped in a number of similar cases. Local volunteers must raise approximately $480,000 more to buy the store outright. –Ruth McCambridge

  • Lorrie Carey

    My daughter lives across the road from the Barnard General store. I shared with her the process the Canterbury Country Store (in NH) went through nearly 15 years ago. The Canterbury community (and other interested parties) formed an LLC and sold “shares” at $1000 a piece. Half shares were $500. The LLC owns the real estate, but the store is run by a separate entity which also owns all the inventory. The LLC helps the business people running the store with rallying community support for purchasing/marketing and taking care of the physical facility. It is a great partnership. However, even with this partnership, the economy has devistated small businesses like these country stores which are expensive to heat and often have aging an inefficient refrigeration which is expensive to run. I hope Barnard can save their store. It has a lot of character and is a great opportunity for someone who wants to foster entrepreneurship in a rural area. Imagine how many local farmers and local artists this store could provide an opportunity to!