Four-year-old Alyssa Rafuse knows her way around the Hastings Store for good reason-- her great-great-grandparents bought the West Danville businesses in 1913.
Reporter Adam Sullivan: You like coming in here?
Alyssa Rafuse: Yeah.
Adam Sullivan: How Come?
Alyssa Rafuse: Because I like to make doughnuts.
For little Alyssa and other members of the family who pop in from time to time, there is a fine line between work and play.
Alyssa Rafuse: I work and play.
Adam Sullivan: When you are working what do you do?
Alyssa Rafuse: I wait on the customers.
Her grandparents, Jane and Garey Larrabee, are the current owners.
"We took over in 1973, which is something I was never, ever, ever, ever going to do," Jane Larrabee said.
Over the years, some things have changed. The barn, which used to house animals, is now a craft shop. And they no longer sell their own coffee. But the Larrabees still live upstairs.
"I grew up upstairs and my grandparents lived downstairs. My father was actually born upstairs," Larrabee said.
When he retired, Jane's dad was the longest-serving post master in Vermont. Some of the original boxes remain, combination locks-- no keys here.
"I come to get my mail," said Doris Rivard of Walden. "It's a post office, but it is also a friendly country store."
Like many general stores, Hastings is a meeting spot, a place to come together. And, at times, a location to rally around community members in need.
"You don't see much of them anymore," Rivard said. "They are a dying breed and hopefully they will stay in business for a long time to come."
By the looks of things that will most certainly be the case.
"We bloom where we are planted," Larrabee said.
A family business 100 years old and still going strong.
Adam Sullivan: Do you like working?
Alyssa Rafuse: Yeah.
Adam Sullivan: How come?
Alyssa Rafuse: Because I like to wait on the customers.
Owners say they are planning a 100th anniversary celebration later in the year, but nothing is set in stone yet. As for the future of the store, it seems like the training for that position has already begun.
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