East Calais, VT – Vermont’s oldest continuously operated store is getting a new life. On Friday, Senator Peter Welch joined Governor Phil Scott to the cut the ribbon on the new and improved East Calais General Store.
While the building is still called a general store, it has many more amenities, and it serves a new purpose for the community. It’s now a place to gather. Governor Scott says, “I think that general stores in particular play an important role to the economic vitality to a village and town, and it’s a meeting place. It’s people coming together.” Senator Welch said, “most people would have wrote this place off. And the challenges post Covid with how prices increased would have set back a lot of folks. Not here.”
The East Calais General Store dates to the 1850’s. The renovated store will offer fresh food options as well as a community-gathering space. There are also three apartments above the store.
The East Calais Community Trust says the initial plan was expected to cost 300,000 to 400,000 dollars. The eventual price tag was $2.8 million. During his time in the U.S. House, Welch’s office secured a few thousand dollars for the project. State money was also used for the renovations. Sen. Welch says, “I just love to see this Vermont spirit build a community and really investing in right here at home.”
The store will have extended hours moving forward.