By: Matthias Baudinet
The town of Poultney is full of local businesses that make this quaint little town such a charming place. I had the privilege of interviewing the owner of the Original Vermont Store, Michele Harmon. The Original Vermont Store is located at 163 Main Street, Poultney, Vermont 05764.
Michele Harmon is the 2nd owner of the Original Vermont Store since it was created in 1984. Born in Poultney, VT, Michele was a teacher for 35 years in this quaint little town. At first, she worked part-time at the store while she continued her full-time teaching job at the high school. About 9 years ago, Michele decided to buy the store. She was in the process of retiring from teaching and she didn’t want the store to disappear. She always loved the store and wanted to see it continue to operate on Main Street.
The Original Vermont Store sells a variety of different things. The store specializes in selling Vermont-made products. That includes Vermont food products, hand-made jewelry from Vermont residents, candles, tableware, baby-items, childrens’ toys, holiday items, and many other fine-quality products. Michele admitted that the homemade fudge was what attracted college students the most. Local chocolate, candies, honey, pickles, and syrup were also favorites among GMC students and their families.
According to Michele, the store gets a good mix of both Green Mountain College students and town residents. According to her, this is very healthy because that equal mix means that both students and town residents are satisfied with what the store has to offer. Michele did admit that she would love to carry toiletries in her store so that she could attract more students (this is something Michele and her husband are working on doing).
Michele is very thankful for the many visits that her customers make to her store. Though their high-point is during the summer, regular visitors keep the store alive and continue to strengthen the Poultney community during the other seasons.
What Michele enjoys most about her store is that she now sells the products of certain local artisans that used to be her students while she was a teacher. To her, having the privilege of seeing her former students excel in what they do and to be able to construct and create such beautiful objects that are now presented in her store is priceless. Michele feels that the Original Vermont Store embodies the very essence of what a healthy and positive community is all about.
The Original Vermont Store provides a local and friendly shopping experience for residents and for visitors. In my own personal opinion, Michele’s store successfully stands for local community and a certain lifestyle that promotes tight-knit relationships.