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Barnard Store to Reopen After Fundraising Effort

Jillian Bradley and Joe Minerva meet with board members of the Barnard Community Trust to talk about logistics of reopening the Barnard General Store in Barnard yesterday. Bradley and Minerva, who currently live in Richmond, Vt., and work in management positions at the Richmond Market, will be the new managers of the Barnard store when it reopens this spring. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

Jillian Bradley and Joe Minerva meet with board members of the Barnard Community Trust to talk about logistics of reopening the Barnard General Store in Barnard yesterday. Bradley and Minerva, who currently live in Richmond, Vt., and work in management positions at the Richmond Market, will be the new managers of the Barnard store when it reopens this spring. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

Barnard — When the Barnard General Store reopens this spring, the shelves will contain all the old standbys: bread, deli meats, beer, wine, cigarettes. But the new managers also want to make sure shoppers can find everything they need to cook a meal.

“That’s our biggest goal, to expand the grocery” section, said Jillian Bradley, 24.

As it has in the past, the business will provide free wi-fi and serve breakfast, lunch and, on occasion, dinner. Bradley and her partner Joe Minerva plan to buy area staples, such as eggs, meat and produce, from local farmers. They’ll stock a range of products, from low cost to high-end items.

“You need a mix, because there are all kinds of customers,” said Minerva, 27.

They’ll also reopen the seasonal ice cream window and sell freshly prepared foods.

“I think this is going to have that general store feeling, where every space is utilized,” Bradley said.

The couple, who are originally from Long Island, currently work at Richmond Market and Beverage, a full-service grocery store about 13 miles southeast of Burlington. They recently signed a 10-year lease on the Barnard store and will move into an apartment above the business later this month .

The 180-year-old store closed in May due to financial struggles. The Barnard Community Trust bought the property last month after months of fundraising. The organization, which has raised about $470,000 toward the purchase price of $500,000, will continue to raise money to cover property costs, insurance, taxes and improvements to the building.

Residents said they look forward to the convenience of having the general store reopen. With the nearest grocery store about six miles away, Dana Bargezi has found herself borrowing from neighbors rather than making a special trip for just one ingredient.

“I don’t think people realized how much they shopped at the general store until it closed,” said Bargezi, who serves on the trust’s board of directors.

Finding energetic, enthusiastic and experienced people to run the store was a critical first step, said Rick Carbin, president of the board of directors. But the business’ success will depend on its customers.

“I’m going to make a determined effort to buy as a much as I can in this store,” Carbin said.

Barnard General Store is one of several similar stores in the state that have been bolstered by the community in challenging times.

“The community has to come together to support these stores,” he said. “Barnard is a great place to try to do that.”

Aimee Caruso can be reached at acaruso@vnews.com or 603-727-3210.