Muddy March

“In March the soft rains continued, and each storm waited courteously until its predecessor sunk beneath the ground.”

-John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck neglected to mention all of the cars that have sunk beneath the ground as February and now March put their punctuation mark on our dirt roads. Yes March (and April) can boast some of the giddiest winter storms in recent memory but they don’t have the staying power as the sun shines longer and higher in the skies. We turn our clocks one hour ahead on Saturday evening March 10th and Easter is early-April 1st. The month of March, if anything, is a fast forward flip from winter to spring this year. At the store our spring calendar is determined by how many people are enjoying the deck!

During this quiet time we take the opportunity to find new products upstairs and down. The bakery is experimenting and developing new ideas, Lori is attending numerous gift and clothing shows, Colleen is reaching out to new food vendors for new products, and I’m stuck with the nightmarish task of finding and tasting new wine offerings! This spring every department of the store will be rolling out a few new surprises!

At a recent legislative day for the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association country store owners and employees talked about common problems and shared different ideas on how to keep country stores vibrant and sustainable. One initiative that came out of these discussions was pairing up with two iconic Vermont businesses, Cabot Cheese and Ben and Jerrys, and proposing a signature Vermont country store cheese and ice cream. I feel that collaboration with businesses in Vermont- big and small- unite us on so many levels.

Our deli will bring in a variety of superb cheeses from Ireland and having our traditional corn beef and cabbage lunch special on Saint Patrick’s Day March 17th.

It’s not too early to think rose! Each year rose wines convert more “pink people”. I’ll be expanding our selection this spring with lots of new arrivals. Traditionally rose of Pinot noir, one of my favorite, have been limited and cost prohibitive, but I’ve found some beauties that are well made and very easy on the wallet. Think pink!

“In March winter is holding back and spring is pulling forward. Something holds and something pulls inside us too.”

-Jean Hersey

Upstairs, March is a month of transition. Winter to spring and all the bright, beautiful colors and prints that say Spring so eloquently. There is a lot of winter clothing on sale, however and it must go to make room for the new merchandise arriving daily. It’s all 50% off! We are working on a collaborative community sale with a fundraising component, stay tuned for details! Hoping for March 24 and 25 but still in the initial planning stages. Accessories are key right now with a great selection of Hobo leather bags and wallets, scarves and lots of very affordable jewelry to lighten up the fickle days of early spring weather in the north country. Puzzles are another great way to beat cabin fever and we have many, from 300 to 1000 pieces for young and old! It’s always new and fun and interesting upstairs and I sure wish I had a dollar for every time a customer tells us what amazing merchandise we have! This month’s “under our noses” shout outs go to Cabin Fever Follies, the Chez Henri Cup, and the fish fry at Mad River on Friday nights.

If there were ever two events that provided an entertaining social atmosphere during this quiet month it’s these two events. Cabin Fever Follies is a valley institution where locals come out and tap into their inner American Idol and provide a lot of talent and fun for their neighbors. This year’s shows are Friday March 23rd and Saturday March 24th beginning at 6:30.

Another iconic event is the 30th Annual Chez Henri Cup to benefit Vermont Health and Hospice. The race and raffle happen on March 17th.You need to experience this event at least once in your lifetime!

Fish Fry Friday at General Stark’s Pub offers some of the best fish and chips “this side of the pond”!

When you think about it March isn’t so quiet after all! It’s been a crazy up and down winter. Get out there and enjoy these wonderful valley traditions with your posse and stop by the store and have lunch on our calendar (the deck!).

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.”

-Doug Larson

To the best customers ever!