The Story of the Putney General Store
About Our Store
Putney General Store, Vermont’s oldest since 1796, is a grocery/deli at the heart of Putney Village. Come enjoy great coffee, baked goods, sandwiches, soups, prepared foods such as our signature burritos and Mac-n-cheese, Vermont goodies, craft beers and fine wines. We are open 7am to 7pm every day.
We are known as “The Phoenix” because the town would not let go of its cherished general store even after two devastating fires. It is now owned and run by the Putney Historical Society. To learn more about our amazing story, check out the chapter in the new book New England's General Stores or this Chronicle story.
The Story in a Nutshell
After two fires, 3½ years, over 350 local donors, and the support of many businesses, foundations and agencies, the Putney General Store was reconstructed in 2011. The local non-profit Putney Historical Society bought the property and undertook its restoration/reconstruction to ensure that the beloved General Store would continue to serve the community as a successful store and gathering place. The project’s ultimate goal was to achieve the total development costs of $1.3 million with no debt through grants and gifts.
Past history with the store and others like it around Vermont showed that controlling debt was the key to a sustainable business. Although we have not yet completely reached that goal, we were able to re-open the store with only $230,000 in long-term debt and offer a low-market rate rent to the tenant-business owner. The store re-opened in December of 2011 and has had three proprietors including a pharmacy upstairs and a Chinese take-out downstairs — all the while a vibrant store and café. The current iteration is a general store — grocery, deli, bakery, café, wine and beer — run and owned by the Putney Historical Society.
With its anchor business and historic look restored, the center of the village is once again open for business — an increasingly rare commercial center in such a small Vermont town. With only a short interruption the Putney General Store is still the oldest operating general store in Vermont, since 1796.
Read more about the Putney General Store: