The Dorset Union Store was started in 1816 as a member-owned cooperative. Then-owner Perry Peltier changed the name to Peltier’s in 1955. When the current owners purchased the store in 2007, the name reverted back to its original Dorset Union Store. We like the ring of it. We also like how the store has achieved a perfect balance between old and new.
Vermont country stores that remain steadfastly in the past draw few customers. You can be sure that over the first couple of hundred years, the stores did their best to provide the goods and services that the townsfolk wanted, and continually updated their offerings. It makes no sense to remain wedded to a long-gone past if you want to, say, make some money and stay in business. Unless you’d rather operate a museum.
On the other hand, at what point is a country store no longer a country store? We love both F.H. Gillingham & Sons in Woodstock and Vermont Country Store in Weston but, lets face it: those are no longer small country stores. Dorset’s store has threaded the needle, keeping up with the times while losing none of the appeal, the soul, of a true country store. The result? Customers! Lots of them! Owners of struggling stores around the state would be wise to spend some time here and see how it’s done.
Need a newspaper, some aspirin, a box of crackers or some batteries? You can find them here. But the owners are wise enough to also offer a top-quality deli, a nook for wines, beers, and local cheeses, plenty of locally produced artisan goods, and complete family dinners to go like shepherd’s pie, lasagna, and lamb curry. People come here because it fills a need, for both locals and tourists. And, yes, the floors still creak and there’s still a bell over the door.
If you’re visiting Vermont and want to experience a true Vermont town grocery, come here for lunch, get a couple of sandwiches from the deli, ladle up some homemade soup, and grab a couple of the excellent cookies at the register. There’s no seating inside but there is the whole state of Vermont outside – you’ll have no trouble finding a place to set yourself down for a picnic lunch.31 Church Street Dorset VT 05251 802-867-4400 Dorset Union Store’s Website Dorset Union Store on Facebook
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