Friday, September 6

10E2237: J.J. Hapgood General Store & Eatery - The Revival (part 1)

Joseph Jackson Hapgood established a general store in Peru, Vermont in 1827 and until a few years ago it had been the longest continually running general store in the state. I partly grew up in this small town and the store in the 80's was still a fixture of the community. It was a right of passage to get your own "account" on turning 16. In the 40s and 50s the town post office was inside the store as well - and horses would be fed and watered outside. And let me get this out of the way... this store (and the town) was heavily used in the film Baby Boom with Diane Keaton and Sam Shephard - still holds a goofy place our hearts (heck our cow was used in the movie...). Outside of a post about our kids (which I don't really do) emotions run pretty high about love of this store here at 10engines.
Sis in front of the store circa 2006. That truck now dust after being rolled winter of 2009...

After its fall from grace a few years ago many in town were thinking someone should really do something with the [abandoned] store.  Enter an old classmate of mine Juliette who still lives in town (with husband and kids) who decided the someone and something was them. Hats off / high fives / 21 gun salute. The historic building was deamed non-viable by the local commission and they are already midway through a rebuild project - the end goal being to create a store, an exhibition space and kitchen for prepared breakfast and lunches in addition to supplying homewares, dry groceries, produce, beer and wood fired pizza. I know they are already working with neighboring producers and farmers intending to promote local food awareness through special events - events aiming squarely at residents as well as a destination for visitors, but also psyched on the meeting room/exhibition space they have planned. The store is one key to invigorating the town of Peru (one stop sign, no light...) and I could not be happier. To my New England readers especially, see to follow along and hope you 'll pay them visit.

Below is a series of photos taken by Carol Kaplan of the store as it was broomswept and ready to be packed up before demo and the current rebuild - which is being done inclusively with the town (even receiving a church blessing) and sensitively in terms of construction (not to get all Meet The Parents but yes salvaging usable timbers and hardware to be used later) recreating the facade, keeping the facing benches out front... Basically doing everything by the book. Walk through the door and have a look...

This was not 'for show' - the sandwich counter was used to prep sandwiches, the pickle barrel was filled, 
the huge glass cheese case held a massive wheel of cheddar, etc. 
The store was living and breathing at one point and will be again.  

Those Js are so distinctive, love that they have are keeping that in the new signage. #wellplayed

This was the last time I was inside - February 24th 2013. Juliette cranked up the woodstove and
the aged constable came by to tell us his childhood recollections of the store. Amazing.
Another set of these photos to follow in part 2...

Local pastor Margaret blessed the old store this summer and neighbors were invited to reminisce.

Here we go folks a renewal and new beginning. 
I am really looking forward to this ride...

Who decided it was good idea to do all this while wrangling 3 kids and a massive garden? 
Oh yeah... this lady did. Thank you Juliette and Tim!