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Business Notes for Sept. 16, 2018

Valley News Business Writer
Published: 9/16/2018 9:36:59 AM
Modified: 9/16/2018 9:37:04 AM

It might be too early to declare it the flicker of a retail Renaissance, but Woodstock’s Farmhouse Pottery, the maker of handmade ceramic table and kitchenware, is opening its second store in the space vacated by Rambler’s Way on South Main Street in Hanover.

Co-founded by potters James and Zoe Zilian, Farmhouse Pottery began as an online business in 2012 before opening its first retail store and potter’s studio in the former Lewis Bible Bindery on Route 4, west of downtown Woodstock. Farmhouse Pottery quickly took off and won the attention from such style mavens as Oprah Winfrey — which boosted the company’s sales — and praise from design critics.

James Zilian, who was the director of development and design at glassmaker Simon Pierce before he and his wife launched their own home products and design company, said they are targeting an October opening for the Hanover store.

The location will also include a hands-on potter’s studio where visitors will be able to watch master potters at work in addition to taking pottery-making classes.

“You’ll get the retail experience and also get to watch the artists at work and meet the artists who made your piece,” Zilian said.

The store will also sell Farmhouse Pottery’s lines of women’s apparel and apothecary and other gift items in addition to a full complement of table and kitchenware.

Calling the Hanover location “our first baby away from home,” Zilian explained the store will serve as a working studio in developing plans for additional Farmhouse Pottery stores down the road.

“We plan on learning a bunch of things over the next few months — how to distribute and how to be part of a new merchant community. Once we figure that out, then we will continue our retail expansion,” he said.

Zilian said he and his wife had first considered the location after the woman’s apparel store Rare Essentials closed its shop there in 2015 and prior to Rambler’s Way occupying the storefront for 17 months before closing in May.

“We had our eye on this space two years ago,” he said. “Maybe it was just meant to be.”

Lebanon Ramunto’s Bakes Last Pie

The past month has seen the closing of two Upper Valley restaurants. Now comes a third: Ramunto’s pizza eatery in the Miracle Mile Plaza in Lebanon closed on Friday.

Owner Patty MaGuire declared “it’s time for me to retire.”

MaGuire, of Bridgewater, opened the Ramunto’s franchise five years ago and estimates she and her eight employees have baked more than 100,000 pizzas during that time.

“I just want to thank all my loyal customers,” she said when reached at work last week. “I appreciate them all.”

Ramunto’s closing follows the demise last week of the Canoe Club in Hanover and earlier Stella’s in Lyme.

System Plus Now at Miracle Mile Plaza

Computer retailer and service provider Systems Plus, after 20 years at Centerra Marketplace, has relocated to the Miracle Mile Plaza in the space formerly occupied by United Flooring.

General manager Bob Weiger reports that Systems Plus has expanded its service department — the company provides IT support for small and medium size businesses in addition to computer sales and service — and has hired two new technicians to accommodate the expansion.

Sharon General Store Up for Sale

The owner of Tracy’s Midway Station in Sharon has put the convenience store and gas station on Route 14 up for sale after owning it for four years.

Erik Pringle, who bought Tracy’s Midway Station in 2014 from longtime owner Jim Fiske, posted on Craigslist that the building and business are for sale with an asking price of $200,000.

“Consistent customer base,” Pringle wrote on Craigslist. “Will be listing with real estate agent soon, and asking price will increase.”

Fiske had owned the convenience and gas station for 28 years.

Pringle, reached by telephone at the store last week, declined to comment about putting his business up for sale.

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News items of interest to the local business community are published in the Business & Money section of the Sunday Valley News. Submissions may be sent by email to: (high-resolution photographs may be attached in .jpg format). Items are edited for clarity and space.

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