Same Sun opens new retail store in downtown Rutland
By Lucia Suarez
STAFF WRITER | April 23,2013
Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo
People gather for the grand opening reception at Same Sun of Vermont located on Merchants Row on Monday. The Same Sun solar store will offer goods made from an entirely solar-powered production process.
Philip and Marlene Allen rolled out the green carpet Monday afternoon as they officially unveiled their new retail store — Same Sun Choice — selling only solar-produced goods.
The store is located at 53 Merchants Row and is, at the moment, mostly empty with some photographs of solar-producing companies lining the walls, a solar-array table and two solar-produced food products. But it’s the possibility of what the store can become that has them excited.
“I am hoping the store doesn’t look the same every month,” said Philip Allen while greeting people into the store. “We have maple, wine, salsa, Campbells and Crayola — they all have one common denominator: solar.”
The Allens started Same Sun of Vermont, a solar design and installation company, located in downtown Rutland in 2011. They only used American-made solar arrays and wanted to expand that mission to local products produced by solar power. That is how Same Sun Choice was born.
“We’ll sell any product as long as they are produced in facilities powered by solar,” Marlene Allen said.
According to store manager Reagh Greenleaf Jr., the goal is to start the conversation with goods producers across Vermont and encourage them to include solar in their businesses. As a mutual benefit Same Sun Choice will sell those products in the downtown store.
“It could be a woodworker or a Vermont winery or brewery,” he said. “We would sell them all at our shop. Promote them here and sell them here.”
He said they have been talking with several local businesses including a woodworker and several maple producers.
One business who recently signed up was maple producer Fern Hollow Farm of Florence, who recently decided to go solar with Same Sun of Vermont.
Owner Lisa Wright Garcia said she has been contemplating going solar for quite some time, but it was never cost effective for her. She said her recent opposition to the industrial wind project proposed in the country was further incentive to look at solar for her farm.
“Put my money where my mouth is sort of thing,” she said.
Wright Garcia said she really liked the local spin Same Sun was offering and it seemed like an ideal fit for her. She hopes to begin construction of a new woodshed and installation of the solar arrays this summer — next year’s batch will will solar produced.
“That’s the plan,” she said.
Following the reception, the company hosted a viewing of the documentary “Carbon Nation” at the Paramount Theatre. Same Sun Choice is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.