KILLINGTON - Howard Smith cast the winning bid of $355,000 at
the auction for Bill's Country Store Friday, Sept. 14. Smith
represented a partnership between businessmen in the community with
a common vision for the community landmark: A Killington Welcome
Center and new home for the Killington Chamber of Commerce.
large red building is in a prime location for this purpose as it
stands at the junction of Killington Road, Route 4 and Route 100
north with about 275 feet of Road frontage on Route 4. The
building, built in 1977, has 6,000-square-foot of commercial space
on the main level, a 2,000-square-foot apartment above, a large
basement below and 1.6 acres surrounding the property.
The partnership of business owners who now collectively own the
property are in the process of working out details of the
arrangement, including who is involved and to what degree the
ownership is shared among them.
The interest in helping shape the
future of this iconic landmark is also shared by the community as
was evident when over 60 people showed up to the highly anticipated
auction. About 20 of those in attendance were prepared to bid. The
property had most recently been assessed at $605,230, which perhaps
is what led auctioneer Thomas Hirchak to start the bidding at
$600,000. When no one responded, he said, "I am always optimistic,"
and quickly dropped the offer to $200,000, which kick-started the
While the interest was high, the bidding was conservative,
jumping in $25,000 increments until Hirchak reached $300,000 then
it decreased to $10,000 and finally $5,000 to reach the winning
A group of local real estate agents standing together
for the event were shocked by the low winning bid, remembering when
the tag was well over double, if not triple, that price by some
estimates. "It's an absolute steal!" said Tricia Carter of Ski
Country Real Estate.
The collective vision that the ownership group has for this
Killington landmark fits well with the town's Gateway to Killington
Streetscape plan. Both seek to create a welcoming sense of arrival
for visitors. The Streetscape project, which has secured grant
funding, also includes landscaping, traffic-calming measures,
parking, walkways and signage. These improvements will further help
to enhance the location of Killington's new welcome center.