Putney General Store Celebrates Grand Re-Opening

Bellows Falls Shopper December 12, 2011

Putney General Store Celebrates Grand Re-Opening

PUTNEY, VT. - The landmark building that is the Putney General Store, which tragically burned to the ground in November of 2009, celebrated a town-wide, grand re-opening on Saturday with a live remote radio broadcast, ribbon-cutting ceremony and special day of celebration and holiday shopping throughout Putney.

Photo by Joe Milliken

Special guests for the day included Gov. Peter Shulman, who just so happens to be a Putney native, as well as Burt Cohen, a former New Hampshire State Senator from Portsmouth and Windham College student in the late 60's. Originally built in 1796, the store fell victim to arson and before that, an electrical fire in the spring of 2008 which had done serious damage. However, the town of Putney all came together.

Led by the Putney Historical Society, over 700 local folks donating their time, money, materials and man-power to re-build the store. In fact, the town collected over $500,000 in donations, as well as a timber frame worth over $100,000. Once completed, the new store was leased to Ming Chou, who moved to Putney from Sterling, MA. and has a 20-year lease in place with the Historical Society. Chou had wanted to come to Putney for the previous decade, and had inquired about buying the store two other times along the way.

The festivities got under way at 11:00, with open houses at both the Putney General Store and the Next Stage art organization, which is now at the former church location. Refreshments, give-a-ways and entertainment were all available throughout the day, which also included a live radio broadcast hosted by 96.7 WTSA FM.

"It is such a nice day, that I decided to do some Christmas shopping and heard about the General Store re-opening and all the activities in Putney today," said Bellows Falls resident Kelly Newman. Newman was enjoying an afternoon of holiday shopping with her 3-year-old daughter Erin. "It is really great to see the general store come back, and to see so many people here today enjoying the holiday festivities."

People visiting the open houses obtained raffle tickets to win gift certificates from various Putney stores including the general Store, The Front Porch Café, Hickory Ridge House, Morning Glorious Vintage, Peekabootique and Swirl. Drawings for the gift certificates were announced on-the-air.

The Next Stage open house was also busy with activities, including a holiday and classic cartoon screening with free popcorn, and a Putney Historical Society display of the Fairchild Collection of vintage photos. There were also a multitude of local informational displays hosted by Post Oil Solutions, Yellow Barn, Putney Family Services, Transition Putney, Sadelle Wiltshire and Zentangle Creativity, Sovern, Richard Taylor Woodcarving and Emily Payton.

There was also plenty of live entertainment throughout the day, including performances by Leon Cooper, Mik Mrowicki, Amelia Struthers, Amy Cann's Fiddle Group and Liz Rogers. Also appearing were the Windham Morris dancing group. Later in the evening, Twilight Music presented the Sweetback Sisters Country Christmas Sing-A-Long at Next Stage.

Other Putney businesses participating in the days' activities included Offerings Jewelry, Sackette's Book Gallery, Penelope Wurr Contemporary Glass, Florali-Beautiful Things To Wear, Eklections (formerly Silver Forest), Basketville, Putney Mountain Winery, J. D. McCliments Pub, Front Porch Café, Shear Madness, Putney Diner, Putney Village Pizza, Edel's Art Glass, Putney Food Co-op, Putney Inn, Green Mountain Spinnery, Hidden Springs Maple, Green Mountain Orchids and West Hill Bike Shop.