Northeast Kingdom landmark closing its doors, up for auction
BROWNINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A Northeast Kingdom landmark is closing its doors after more than 40 years in business.
“We carry a little bit of everything. We’re always open, we don’t really close,” said Andrew Swett, the owner of Evansville Trading Post in Brownington.
Swett has been running this decades-old family business for as long as he can remember.
“People always say, ‘Is it for sale?’ I say, ‘Of course it’s for sale, we buy and sell! That’s what I’ve done for 40 years. It’s what we do,’” said Swett.
Swett says he’s passed the Evansville Trading Post traditions onto his own kids.
“This is where we brought up our kids. We had three kids here, put three kids through college. They were running the register when they were old enough or tall enough. Seven to 9 to 10, they were running the register,” said Swett.
It’s been dubbed “world famous” by Swett’s father, Ralph, who founded the business. Locals would agree the store is the heart of the community.
“I was born and raised two miles down the road, and it’s been here forever,” said Raymond Smith, a longtime customer from West Charleston.
“I mean this was our playground. We would play hide and seek and get lost in this place. It doesn’t seem like it now, but back then it felt huge,” said Kaleb Gibson, one of the two store employees.
But, it actually is quite huge. The building is more than 10,000 square feet, and the store sells anything and everything from mattresses to books to gas to lunch.
“We’re a little burnt out. We’re a lot burnt out,” said Kelly Swett, who married into the operation.
The couple says it’s time to close the doors. Kelly notes the pandemic has strained the business.
“The emotional factor of COVID is what really drained us. It’s hard, and distribution was hard. We did our best,” she said.
“People call out. It’s just hard to get stuff. The supply chain is awful,” said Andrew.
They say the decision was a tough one, but they trust the connections they’ve created will stay with them.
“We have people that come in every day. If we don’t see them, we worry. ‘Why is that person not here, are they sick?’ That won’t go away. We’ll still worry. They’re family,” said Kelly.
Now as for what’s next for the Evansville Trading Post, its future could lie in the hands of an auction happening at the end of the month.
“Hopefully it stays a business for the community, I hope. We don’t have no qualms about that. It would be nice. There still needs to be a store in town,” said Andrew.
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