Barnard General Store near $500,000 goal to reopen
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | December 31,2012
BARNARD — There will be a happy future for the Barnard General Store.
The Barnard Community Trust will reach its $500,000 fundraising goal next month and purchase the store and property from the current landowner thanks to an extended fundraising deadline, according to the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the soon-to-be property co-owners, and the Barnard General Store will be back in business.
“It’s a great New Year’s story,” said Paul Bruhn of the Preservation Trust of Vermont.
The property, which includes the store and up to two acres of land, was sold for $500,000 to the Barnard Community Trust Inc. and the Preservation Trust of Vermont in June.
The Preservation Trust of Vermont will own the property and the Barnard Community Trust conducted the fund- raising.
The deal, inked with current owner Bill Twigg-Smith of Barnard, left the Barnard Community Trust with only six months to raise the necessary funds. If they could not raise $500,000 by Dec. 31, the property would have been placed on the real estate market.
The Barnard Community Trust raised $430,000 but an extension was requested per Twigg-Smith’s lawyer for business-related purposes. Tom Platner of the Barnard Community Trust said they now have until mid-January to raise the remaining funds.
“The village decided to hold the note for the balance but we still have to finish the fundraising. The deadline is not a killer anymore,” Platner said.
The Barnard Community Trust did a mass mailing before the Dec. 31 deadline and received a great response from the Barnard community. They are confident the money will arrive before they close on the property next month, Platner said.
“We now can sign an agreement with an operator; before we couldn’t do that. This allows us to move forward and faster,” Platner said.
The Barnard Community Trust has already received requests for proposals with potential operators. Three of them will submit full business plans and Barnard Community Trust board members will begin the interview process this winter.
The Barnard General Store had operated for 180 years and was a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike. It was one of the longest-operating general stores in Vermont until store owners Carolyn DiCicco and Kim Furlong closed it in May due to difficult financial times, poor weather and big-box store competition.
Bruhn said the Barnard Community Trust and Preservation Trust of Vermont hopes to reopen the store in spring 2013.
Twigg-Smith could not be reached for comment.