Just about every Vermont town has one-- a place to meet to find the latest news with their cup of coffee. It's the village store. In the Central Vermont town of Websterville it's Lawson's.
"I pick up a lot of information here," Jim Lawson said.
"This place has been remarkable," a customer said. "I love coming here."
From jewelry to juice to gloves and ginger ale, the store has it all. It's a family business started by Jim's dad in 1918.
"I grew up in it," Jim said. "I was here all the time."
In some ways, the store is stuck in time; the floors have a well-worn creak and even a sign advertising a 6-pack of Coke for a quarter. The Lawsons don't take credit cards, but do have store credit.
"The way it used to be," Bev Lawson said.
And something else old-fashioned-- penny candy that cost them 2.5 cents per piece.
Bev Lawson: They learn their penny here.
Reporter Joe Carroll: It's not a good business model, is it?
Bev Lawson: Oh, I think it's wonderful for the children.
Bev thinks of it as a way for the kids to learn their addition skills.
The couple have been adding up the years together. They're high school classmates who have been married for 54 years.
Joe Carroll: Is it a hard business?
Jim Lawson: Not hard, but you got to be with it all the time, yeah.
The Lawsons open up at 6 a.m.; they work alone. The only time they take off is Sunday afternoon. They take a ride or go out to dinner on their date night.
Business has declined along with the number of employees at the nearby granite quarry.
"We used to work harder, but of course we've slowed down because we're a little older," Jim said.
Jim is 76 and Bev is 75. They live above the business. Their only son does come by to help stock the cooler; he has no interest in taking over the store. Retirement isn't in their vocabulary.
"We enjoyed it over the years," Jim said. "Today, that's a good as being rich, I guess."
"They're so many people that you've helped, that you've listened to and talked to; they are our family, put it that way," Bev said.
The very definition of a mom and pop store.
Bev and Jim are relaxing a bit more than they used to, they now close the store for Christmas and New Year's Day.
PO Box 4508