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'Now or never': Family to open general store in Vernon


By Chris Mays, as seen in the Brattleboro Reformer:

VERNON — Residents missing the community store need worry no longer.

Construction is visible at 67 Governor Hunt Rd., where a mobile home is being made into Cold Brook Ice Cream & General Store.

"We've been without a store for five years," said Dana Macaluso, store manager. "It's just ... we miss it."

Her father, Tim Forrett, is the owner. For the site, he purchased the space in front of his house — it's across from the recreation area at the Vernon Dam.

"This trailer became available and we said, 'It's now or never,'" Macaluso said. "We pretty much gutted everything."

The project, which has Forrett getting help from family members and friends, started in the beginning of July.

The store will offer sandwiches and takeout food along with coffee and other beverages. Parking spaces and a ramp for those with disabilities are also part of the plan. An ice cream parlor with hard and soft serve flavors will be added on to the rear of the structure after opening, when the weather's warmer. Later on, the family wants to sell fresh produce and eventually grow its own.

The goal is to open in the middle of November. A grand opening will be announced.

"It's going to be very country, very rustic, basic needs," said Macaluso. "We've gotten a lot of positive feedback from the residents of Vernon."

Reactions on Facebook included: "That's such great news!" "Awesome!" "FANTASTIC!" and "AND ice cream?! #amIdreaming."

Part of the efforts responding to the shutdown of the Vernon nuclear plant Vermont Yankee involved replacing Schoolhouse Grocery, which closed several years ago. A community store was one of several needs identified by Vernon residents during a "community visit" process hosted by the Vermont Council on Rural Development, which was funded through a Windham County Economic Development Program grant. The program is meant to help with job creation after the closure of Vermont Yankee. The plant is being decommissioned now.

Working on Labor Day, Forrett was joined by Dana, Ingo and Natalie Macaluso, and Tracy, Timmy and Tammy Forrett. Darren Forrett has also been helping with the efforts.

"We're going to have some guys help with the walls and addition," said Forrett.