Saint Albans Gives Downtown More Flavor

By Alex Rose

Published 08/20 2014 10:51PM

Updated 08/21 2014 09:32AM

Saint Albans, Vt.- Now people come to Saint Albans to shop and dine, but they didn't always used to stay.

“You'd come here if you had to,” said local resident James Riopel when asked what Saint Albans was like when he first moved to Vermont 30 years ago.

Saint Albans received a $380,000 grant to revitalize their downtown last year, and now people are seeing the results.

“It's tremendous the amount of effort that's been put into this place. I drive through the town and just realize where we were to what it is now. It's beautiful.

Most of the vacant store fronts in downtown have been filled, and this weekend one more business will join the Main Street lineup.

“This will be a tourist destination,” said Twiggs Gastropub Owner Tom Murphy.

On Saturday, local fare will open its doors to the public.

Murphy won't make this like your typical farmers market: only one vendor will sell a specific type of food.

The concept at Local Fare is to give individual vendors their own booths to sell their goods, that way there's no competition between vendors selling similar goods like you see at other famer's markets. This gives small businesses a stepping stone for growth.

“This is an incubator,” Murphy said. “Like I said there are some wonderful people that make some wonderful products that really don't have the opportunity to jump right into a retail space.”

And Murphy says this idea may not have happened without the revitalization of downtown.

“If it's done the right way like Saint Albans did it, private money, like mine will follow the public investment,” Murphy said. “I don't think I would have done this if Saint Albans had not been redone.”

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