“Can a store be both totally old-fashioned and on point for current trends at the same time?” That’s the question author Gail Ciampa asked in her recent Providence Journal article about The Vermont Country Store.
It’s a question my brothers and I ask ourselves a lot. We take great joy in being able to offer old-fashioned products that people remember fondly. In a world where all you seem to hear about is the next best thing, there’s nothing better than being there at the moment when someone re-discovers a childhood toy or game or candy they thought was gone forever.
But we are also practical storekeepers through and through, and that means the products we sell have to have a purpose. They have to work as well — or better — than modern equivalents.
For example, our Gilhoolie Jar Opener is the same tool that your grandmother had in her drawer to unscrew the lids on stubborn jars. People keep buying them because they work, they last and nothing does the job better.
The same is true for our Mountain Weave tablecloths. They come in all the colors of the rainbow now, but they are just the same as when your mother served Sunday dinner on them. They wash well, and hold up for years. Customers tell us they are among their treasured linens passed down from generation to generation.
The Vermont Country Store Cookbook, which was the subject of Ms. Ciampa’s review, is another case in point. It features recipes by our grandmother, Mildred, who was a pioneer in whole-food cooking. She promoted whole grains and farm-fresh ingredients. This was considered old-fashioned at a time when the nation was turning to TV dinners and processed foods bought at the “supermarket.”
Now, though, our grandmother’s wise ways are suddenly in again, as more people discover—or rediscover—healthy eating and a simpler way of life. Trends may come and go, but we will remain thrifty, practical storekeepers providing our customers with products and services that are second to none. With those values guiding us, we expect The Vermont Country Store to be “trendy” for a long time to come — today, tomorrow and always.
Proprietor of The Vermont Country Store