Norwich store helping neighboring businesses keep the lights on

Published: Nov. 28, 2020 at 9:24 AM EST
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NORWICH, Vt. (WCAX) - On March 2nd, the first case of Coronavirus in the Upper Valley was confirmed.

On March 13th, Governor Phil Scott declared a state of emergency in Vermont.

For the past 8 months, restaurants and other small businesses have continued to fight the good fight to stay open.

While the industry has struggled, this week we take you to Norwich where one business is trying to keep others afloat.

Dan and Whit’s has been an Upper Valley community staple for what may feel like forever.

And for good reason -- as they boast “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it,” this store carries just about anything you may need.

But in addition to being a one-stop-shop, they’re also extremely active in the community.

“Because the online stores aren’t making donations, they’re not showing up at your door delivering groceries to you, it’s the independent stores that are here, the restaurants, the stores, and all the people that live here need to be supported during this pandemic,” says manager and owner Dan Fraser.

Fraser says they’ve seen different levels of business throughout the pandemic, with some departments sales down, and others up. Among the up? Alcohol.

“People aren’t dining out as much now that the summer is over, and the way that we all know they make their money is by selling alcohol. So when people do a takeout curbside order, they’re not usually ordering alcohol with that. And those sales have transferred to the retail sector like us,” says Fraser/

True to Dan and Whit’s form, the business will be giving 10 percent of their Friday and Saturday alcohol sales to local restaurants.

One of the potential recipients, The Norwich Inn.

“The volume has just decreased drastically again and we want to do everything we can do to keep the community safe and make sure that we’re following the guidelines, but at the same time it is difficult when you have people that have been devoted to your business and you have to make difficult decisions that affect their life,” says innkeeper at the Norwich Inn, David Burtonbush.

The only rule is that the restaurants have to funnel some funds to waitstaff, but the rest can be used however it’s most needed.

The restaurants span from Norwich, into Hartford and even White River Junction, but the full list is given in a Dan and Whit’s Facebook post.

It’s a tried and true tale of neighbors helping neighbors.

“We’re just really grateful for Dan. Through this whole process he really has helped bring our entire community together and his focus has been on all of the small businesses, not just his. Non-profits as well,” says Burtonbush.

The weekly winner of the donation will be chosen by customers. In order to cast your vote, you must send or drop off Dan and Whit’s a check in any amount, made out to the restaurant of your choosing.

They’ll decide from the checks they receive who gets the money.

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