By Curt Peterson
The Singleton’s Market, located on Route 4 in Quechee for eight years, closed permanently with little notice on May 28.
The market was widely known for its interesting menu of delicious deli sandwiches, high quality, reasonably priced meats and groceries, to paraphernalia ranging from antique guns to sunhats to T-shirts and bear skulls.
And the location was promising – directly across from the antique gallery and near the yellow blinking light at Hartland-Ottauquechee Road where the speed limit is reduced.
According to local reports competition froam Jake’s Market and a run of bad tourist winters made the store less viable than hoped, and Tom and Linn Singleton, owners of the original Singleton’s General Store in Proctorsville, decided to let it go.
“We really appreciate the customers who came to the Quechee store,” Linn Singleton told The Mountain Times. “Right now we are busy here in the main store, keeping our customers happy and moving forward into the future.”
The Singletons should know what’s best for their business – the Proctorsville location is booming, and visitors will find it familiar in many ways to the now defunct Quechee spin-off – only more so.
According to the company website, Tom’s parents Bud and Mary started the family business as “Newton’s Store” in Reading in 1946 – 73 years ago. After a five-year break they bought some land on Route 131 and opened Singleton’s General Store in Proctorsville in 1978. Two generations grew it to 7,500 sq. ft. area – almost three times the area of the average home in the U.S.
Tom and Linn took the business over when Bud and Mary retired in 1999. Their son Dan and his wife Allison work in the family business as well. The store employs between 8 and 12 people, depending on the season.
“There’s another Singleton’s generation coming along,” Linn joked.
The huge black replica bull that beckoned on Route 4 now guards the entrance in Proctorsville. The aroma of smoked meats, the easy chatter between customers and employees, the variety of products, produce, meats, clothing and rustic displays of antique firearms, the line waiting for sandwiches – will all seem very familiar to anyone who visited the Quechee store.
Linn calls the more rustic items “Tom’s Accumulation.”
“Some are for sale, and some are not,” she said. “Some are just for customers to look at.”
And one does not have to drive to Proctorsville for anything but the ambiance – one can order from their website with certain caveats about seasonality and shipping.
For example, “Perishables will only ship Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday depending on where they are being shipped. We do not want our quality products sitting in a warehouse over the weekend.”
Most of the on-line sales are for smoked meats, according to Linn, and some Singleton’s T-shirts and hats.
“Online sales are a work in progress with room to grow,” she said.
The sandwiches have names as original as their ingredients combinations:
“Green Mountain Boy” (Buffalo Chicken, Cheddar, Sour Cream, Lettuce, Salsa), “Nat’s Moonlight Hike” (Turkey, Cheddar, Lettuce, Mayo, Apple Slices), “Cheesy Swine” (Smoked Ham, Swiss, Brown Mustard), “Cuz’s Big Fattie” (Liverwurst, Swiss, Spicy Mustard, Lettuce, Onions, Banana Peppers, Pickles) and “The Biggie” (Roast Beef, Garlic Herb Mayo, Cheddar, Lettuce, Tomato), to cite just a few.
The future of the Quechee store is up in the air.
“We’re not thinking about that right now,” Linn said. “We’re just focusing on our customers and the future.”