Barnard General Store ready to reopen - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Barnard General Store ready to reopen

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The Barnard General Store is buzzing with activity. Shelves quickly fill up and finishing touches are added. For the first time in over a year, the general store will be back in business.

"There was a huge hole in the community. It was a common place for people to meet to gather and having meetings, and to talk and just catch up. And there has just been that loss," said Linda Treash of Barnard.

Treash says the small town was devastated when former owners couldn't make ends meet, and the historical landmark was forced to shut down. But the community rallied and raised half a million dollars to buy the store. After months of interviews, the Barnard Community Trust selected new management to lease and run the beloved store.

"I think people are skeptical about our age, but it doesn't worry us at all," Joe Minerva said.

"I like that people are skeptical," Jillian Bradley laughed. "I like to prove people wrong, so I think we will do a good job at doing that."

New York natives Joe Minerva and Jillian Bradley swapped out city living in 2008 after falling in love with the Green Mountain State. But their love story didn't begin there.

"I was 13 and had such a crush on him!" Bradley said.

The high school sweethearts always knew they wanted to run a business together, and with college education and years of experience in grocery business, the young couple set their sights on Barnard.

"I feel surprisingly calm, for some reason," Bradley said. "The last hour, once delivery came, it-- it got a little hectic, but I am not worried. I have a lot of confidence in us."

The new owners say acquiring a piece of Barnard history is both motivating and stressful. With added sections like bulk foods, bakery and hand-sliced deli meats, the couple hopes the community will like their fresh take on 1800s legend, but are making sure to stick with longtime favorites.

"It is all about this soda fountain ice cream bar," Minerva said. "We just love it."

And along with the milkshakes, the community eagerly awaits the general store's opening, and a new chapter in town history.

Wednesday the couple celebrates their 7-year anniversary. And at 7 a.m. the general store will officially open for business.

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