STAFF FILE PHOTO Rain falls outside the Barnard General Store on its closing day in Barnard.
BARNARD — The 180-year-old Barnard General Store has been given new life and might open as soon as April 1, according to the new property owners, the Barnard Community Trust.
Last Thursday, the Barnard Community Trust purchased the store for $500,000 from William Twigg-Smith and Tuesday the Barnard Community Trust signed a letter of intent with the new store owners they recently selected from a pool of candidates — Joe Minerva and Jillian Bradley.
Tom Platner, a Barnard Community Trust member, said all of the necessary paperwork will be signed in a matter of days between both parties.
“We need to get the store open and running again and get our community back to normal. Everybody misses our general store,” Platner said.
The Barnard Community Trust put down $300,000 at last Thursday’s signing, Platner said. They received another $50,000 the day after the signing and will receive another $50,000 once they finalize the paperwork with Minerva and Bradley.
The Barnard Community Trust must now raise the remaining $100,000 in one year but they are confident they will make it before then, according to Platner.
“Bill was going to give us extra time to raise the $500,000, but he really wanted to move the process along,” Platner said. “He was a prince through the whole thing. He really deserves a shout out.”
According to Platner, the Barnard Community Trust received six requests for proposals to operate the Barnard General Store. The top two came down to a group of Barnard locals and Minerva and Bradley.
Platner said they were impressed with Minerva and Bradley’s business plan and the Barnard group eventually withdrew themselves from the selection process.
“Julie runs customer relations at Richmond Market and Beverage and Joe is the manager. They’re young, enthusiastic and personable. They really have it all. That’s just what the store needed,” Platner said.
As of now, the Barnard Community Trust is taking care of last-minute renovations. Minerva and Bradley will live at the general store and they plan to move in by Feb. 15, Platner said.
The Barnard General Store 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 2011 due to difficult financial times, poor weather and big-box store competition.
Minerva and Bradley were unavailable for comment.
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