WILLIAMSTOWN -- After being closed for about a year and a half, The Store at Five Corners has reopened.
Ryan Hassett, who now manages the store with his wife, Heather, said that the store opened on June 18, and each day they're seeing more people who once frequented the business return.
"The town and the community have been fantastic," Hassett said. "People have been coming in to shake my hand, or give me a hug. It has been amazing."
Up until it closed in January 2010, The Store at Five Corners had been one of the oldest continually operating stores in the country.
Hassett, who lives in Bennington, Vt., said he wants to bring the business back to its historic feel of a country and general store.
"We can't do penny candy, but we have the bulk candy that you can scoop out of the jars," he said. "We also have nice breads that are made locally, and we make our own muffins every day."
Starting this weekend, the store planned to make its own cinnamon rolls, and it currently offers freshly made breakfast and lunch sandwiches, Hassett said. The espresso machine is also up and running, and eventually the store will be able to make its own fudge.
"There are some things we already know how to make, and we're learning to make things as we go," he said.
In addition, the store's focus is on local residents, which is different from the past, Hassett said.
"We have a lot of grocery items, and not so many gourmet
Traditionally a popular stop for cyclists, runners and hikers, the store keeps Cliff Bars, Gatorade, water and other similar products in stock, he said. In addition, the store carries local products including pottery, toys, maple syrup, soaps, ice cream, jewelry and locally grown produce.
"I do as much as I can to buy local, which I found had to be within 100 miles of here," Hassett said.
Hassett said he expects the store will be able to carry wine, beer and malt beverages shortly. He also hopes to do wine and cheese pairings with cheeses in stock from all over the world.
Hassett is leasing the store from Franklin Lewis, who also owns Green River Farms, which abuts the property and has been closed since January 2010.
Hassett said his responsibility is to operate the store and maintain the playground behind it, and he has nothing to do with the farm.
When he learned that The Store at Five Corners had closed, Hassett said he couldn't believe that something that had been in existence for so long was no longer open.
"I worked in Berkshire County for many years, and I drove by this place all the time," he said.
Hassett was in a position to take on a new venture, and contacted Lewis, he said. Hassett felt his online business, Bringing You Vermont, complemented what he wanted to do with the store, and he and Lewis came up with a plan from there, he said.
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