Since 1832, the Barnard General Store has been the heart of this Central Vermont community. But recently a closed sign was hung on the front door.
Reporter Adam Sullivan: Do you miss it?
Daniel Lassard/Barnard: Yeah.
Sullivan: How come?
Lassard: Because my sister and I always after school we used to come here to get something to eat or something and we can't do that anymore.
Inside, the ice cream station sits unused, the fire in the wood stove is not burning and the chairs are empty.
"It looks forlorn right now with the store closed," said Rick Carbin of the Barnard Community Trust. "But that gives us the incentive to bring it back."
The Trust is attempting to do just that. The group has entered into a lease agreement with the Preservation Trust of Vermont to buy the store, restoring the business for customers who have been coming here for generations.
"It is the heart line and without it we have no real sense of place," Carbin said.
"You know it is just a store, it's just a building, but this is where people meet; where information is passed around. Some of it good and some of it not so good, but at least it is here," said Tom Platner, who's on the fundraising committee.
In the next 6 months, the community needs to raise a half a million dollars; some through grants, but the majority through private donations. The ultimate goal is to purchase the property and rent the space to a management company.
Across the street, flowers are planted in the center of town. One of the ladies helping is Jo-An Lassard. She used to run the store back in the 1960s.
"We need it," she said. "But in this economy, it is difficult."
Starting this Saturday, the store will be open daily for free coffee, reminding people that as the fundraising campaign continues, the store is here, it is open and it continues to be a focal point for this community.
The Vermont Coffee company is donating supplies to the Barnard Community Trust.
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