The Mountain Times

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Barnard General Store to open April 30, plans and preparation underway

BARNARD - There are shelves and racks to be put in place, suppliers to arrange, and a whole lot of sweeping to do, but Jillian Bradley and Joe Minerva say the plan is to re-open the Barnard General Store by the end of the month.

"It all comes together at the end," Bradley said.

Originally from Long Island, Bradley and Minerva moved to Richmond in 2008. Both have grocery backgrounds, and they started looking for a suitable location, and they thought they had one in Richmond, but it fell through at the last minute. Paul Bruhn, the executive director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont, told them about the Barnard store. One thing led to another and they moved to Barnard in February to begin work.

"When Paul told us about this store, we fell in love," Bradley said.

The Preservation Trust has been working closely with a local community group, the Friends of the Barnard General Store, to reopen the store and make it a viable and sustainable business. The Friends are the store's actual owners.

"We like the history, and we like being able to live upstairs," Minerva said. "We intend to run this store more to serve the locals rather than the tourist trade."

Originally established in 1832, the store has seen its ups and downs over the years, and closed last May. The new proprietors said they plan to operate a full service grocery store and deli.

"We heard the previous store didn't have the greatest selection," Minerva said. "We'll have competitive pricing. We plan to bring meat cutting to the store. We'll offer steaks and chicken. We'll offer bulk groceries and we'll have a little freezer section."

Bradley said the store would work with local farmers. Minerva said they plan to use Associated Grocers, based in Pembroke, N.H. as their general wholesaler. Springfield-based Black River Produce will supply organic produce.

Bradley and Minerva will keep the grill open, and expand its offerings as well.

"We'll be serving burgers and cheesesteaks, but there will be vegetarian options" as well, Minerva said. "We'll also offer soups and sandwiches. We'll be hiring someone to operate the grill. I'll cut the meat, and Jill will be running the deli."

Preservationists will be pleased to know that Bradley and Minerva have no plans to alter the building: "It's staying just as it is," Minerva said.

The couple will also be offering the standard general store amenities. Patrons will be able to buy lottery tickets, tobacco, fishing licenses and beer. The gas pumps outside the store will be reopened.

"We have plans for an ice cream window, too," Bradley said.

The Friends of the Barnard General Store closed on the building in January. The group put $300,000 down, and took out a $200,000 one-year mortgage, which means they still need to raise money not only to pay the mortgage, but to cover improvement expenses. More information can be found at friendsofbgs.com.

Stephen Seitz is a freelance writer for The Mountain Times. He can be reached directly at saseitz@comcast.net

Photo by Sephen Seitz
Joe Minerva and Jill Bradley are the new proprietors of the Barnard General Store. They plan to reopen the store on April 30, almost a year after it last closed.