The Barnard community is coming together to save its general store from being sold.
The Barnard community is working day and night to save its beloved general store. Now people can learn more about their efforts in a new documentary.
Mt. Mansfield Media of Colchester is presenting “Restore the Store,” a human-interest look at efforts to save the Barnard General Store. “Restore the Store” takes an in-depth look at the 180-year-old building through the community’s perspective.
The Barnard General Store is the heart and soul of the community, according to local residents. People from all over the state and beyond drive scenic Route 12, park their cars and visit the historic landmark.
Due to a difficult economic climate, a warm winter, and Tropical Storm Irene, co-owners Kim Furlong and Carolyn DiCicco made the difficult decision to close in May. Two months later, the Preservation Trust of Vermont and Barnard Community Trust Inc. purchased the property, the store and up to two acres for $500,000 from Bill Twigg-Smith, of Barnard.
The Barnard Community Trust needs to raise $500,000 in six months. If the trust cannot raise $500,000 by Dec. 31, Twigg-Smith could put the property on the market.
Mt. Mansfield Media hopes the online documentary will raise awareness and the Barnard Community Trust can raise the money to purchase the property.
“The Barnard General Store closed down due to circumstances that were beyond the control of the owners,” said Mt. Mansfield Media’s Abigail Smith. “Because it closed down, the town of Barnard bonded and rallied. The documentary is a fundraising tool so they can maintain control of the store’s future.”
The idea for “Restore the Store” came from White River Toyota General Manager Peter Stoddard. Stoddard has a summer camp in Barnard and approached Mt. Mansfield Media.
Mt. Mansfield Media produced commercials for White River Toyota in the past, and Stoddard was affected by the Barnard General Store closing. With Stoddard’s help, White River Toyota underwrote the documentary.
“It was right around the time the general store had closed down and he saw the effects it had on the community and how integral the store was,” Smith said.
Mt. Mansfield Media’s Jake Cunavelis also took part in “Restore the Store” production. According to Cunavelis, many small towns pride themselves on general stores.
Some general stores bind communities together. Once a central part of their lives is taken away, communities are compromised, he said.
“They start to lose touch. Differences dominate, people don’t come together, and towns lose what attracted people to them in the first place,” Cunavelis said. “They are special to Vermont’s culture. The (Barnard General Store) holds the town together.”
“Restore the Store” was released two weeks ago on the Friends of Barnard General Store website. The Barnard Community Trust has raised $351,000 so far.
“Restore the Store” is available only online. To view “Restore the Store” or to donate to the Barnard Community Trust visit www.friendsofbgs.com/restore-the-store or www.vimeo.com/51563419.
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