Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Barnard General Store Enjoying New Life

VPR/Steve Zind
Store operator Jillian Bradley with customer Bob Forman at the Barnard General Store which reopened a year ago.

In 2012, after a 180 year run the Barnard General store closed.

In response, a local group raised $500,000 to purchase the building and find someone to run the store.

In May of last year, the store reopened and it appears to be doing well.

The store’s closing hit the community hard and it didn’t take much time for the local residents to get to work on a plan to reopen it.    

The Barnard Community Trust, working with the Preservation Trust of Vermont, raised the money purchase the building and then went in search of someone to lease it and operate the store.

On May 1st last year, the Barnard General Store reopened with a young couple behind the counter.

Joe Minerva and Jillian Bradley worked for the Richmond Market before coming to Barnard.  They live in an apartment above the store.

Minerva says the couple has taken an approach that reflects a more traditional grocery store model, with a nod to contemporary tastes.  Craft beers, seafood and custom cut meats are featured along with everyday necessities.

“We offer steaks cut to order and things like that and expanded grocery items and not so much of the crafty tourist-trap kind of things that a lot of the country stores have gotten involved in now,” says Minerva. “We’re trying to bring it back to shopping for the locals.”

The store serves breakfast and lunch. Minerva says there’s room to grow that end of the business but serving food is labor intensive.

The focus during the first year has been on expanding the grocery selection, which now accounts for about 70 percent of the store’s revenue.

Minerva says there’s been strong local support for since the store reopened. The previous owners had cited lack of local shoppers as one reason for the closing.

Customer and Barnard resident Bob Forman believes there a greater appreciation for the store among local residents, now that they’ve seen what its like without it.

“There’s no question about it. There was nothing left of Barnard when the store was gone,” says Forman.

Rick Carbin, president of the Barnard Community Trust, says he's confident that one year into its new life the store is on a sustainable track.  

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.
Latest Stories