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Celebrating a Half-Century - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Celebrating a Half-Century

Wolcott, Vermont - March 29, 2007

Imagine all the cars that travel to and from the Kingdom on Route 15. Now imagine all the directions they follow that call for them to pass Buck's, the network of old buildings that form one of the region's largest furniture stores. Sandy Buck Howard says, "You can't miss us."

Floyd Buck opened up shop here in 1957. He bought a small grocery store for $3,000 and lived next door, in what is now showroom space and a snack bar. A half century later, the 80 year old still works five days a week. Buck chuckles, "We've expanded here 23 times. It's too damn big!"

He does most of the display work. The buying, too. But daughter Sandy really runs the show. She's here for most of the store's 362 workdays. She says, "The store is like a second home."

And she's planning some changes. A Vermont-made gift shop is new, and schoolchildren will have a hand in determining Buck's future. A coloring contest will pick new paint for the store's central country store portion. Expect the familiar colors, like them or not, to stick around for a long time to come. That's because there are so many rambling buildings the kids won't decide on.

While the brown, orange, and yellow may stay, how much longer will Buck's? There is no next generation to take it over. Sandy Buck Howard says, "Maybe I'll adopt someone. I have two old English sheepdogs and a husband. I hope to work. I have no plans to retire. As long as I enjoy work, I hope to be here."

When asked if she would sell the business one day, Buck Howard answers, "I don't know if it's saleable or not."

She figures the 40,000-plus square feet of floor space would be too hard for someone else to fix up and manage. Her dad expects to work up until his last day, never retiring. He laughs, "Hell no! My biggest goal in life is to drop dead with a chair on my head, calling someone 'a son of a bitch!' That's my goal in life!"

A modest dream to continue his hard work, continue making this town of just 1,500 not just a place to drive through, but a place to stop.

Buck's has a birthday party planned Sunday, April 1st with food and entertainment. They will not be selling furniture, even though Sundays are usually their busiest days.

Jack Thurston - WCAX News

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