Phil Scott's visit to the Elmore Store

Gov. Phil Scott made a nostalgic visit to the Elmore Store in 2018; now, preservationists hope to buy the store and keep it going.

The Elmore Community Trust has signed an agreement to purchase the Elmore Store.

The trust will become the landlord for a new proprietor of the general store, who will take over operations of the store in 2022.

First, though, the trust will understake a capital campaign to buy the property in 2021.

This plan for the store uses a community supported enterprise model. With guidance and support from Preservation Trust Vermont, donations from the community, and historic preservation grant funds, the Elmore Community Trust will ensure the continued operation of The Elmore Store as a community hub for generations to come.

The mission of the trust is to care for the places that make Elmore special, and to support businesses, organizations and residents that contribute favorably to the rural community.

The trust was founded in January 2020 by a group of Elmore residents in response to the impending retirement of the current owners of the store and concerns over the future success of the business.

Warren and Kathy Miller purchased the Elmore Store 37 years ago and turned it into the fixture in the community. The business has grown and changed over the years to include relationships with many local food producers, including Fire Tower Pizza, which is now operating out of the store’s kitchen. Warren Miller died last year.

As the only commercial business in the village of Elmore, which doubles as a post office, the store functions as the town’s hub. It is the only place where residents can run into a neighbor while picking up the mail or grab a coffee in the morning.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, the store became a lifeline for many nervous residents, staff busily took phone orders and packed boxes of provisions for curbside pick-up.

“Without the store, the Town of Elmore would lose its heart, and the broader community would lose an essential stopping point between the capital and the Northeast Kingdom or Morrisville and Stowe,” said Julie Bomengen of Elmore Community Trust in a press release.

This month, Preservation Trust of Vermont awarded the group a $100,000 grant for septic improvements and other necessary site work. Through a combination of fundraising and grants, communities purchase the desired real estate and equipment with little to no debt, and then are able to lease the space at an affordable rate to a community-oriented operator.

This also allows the income from the lease to go toward maintenance expenses rather than paying down a mortgage.

For more information, visit elmorecommunitytrust.org. Think you might want to be the next Elmore store proprietor? Email info@elmorecommunitytrust.org.

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