SHAFTSBURY >>The Shaftsbury Country Store & Cafe, at 972 Route 7A, has announced its closure on July 22.
The establishment reopened in May under new management — Stephanie Hockett from Pittsfield, Mass.— after being vacant since 2014. Prior to that, Evan and Tracy Galle ran the business for nine years. Items such as coffee making equipment, tables and chairs, and remaining merchandise will be for sale until the end of the month. Doors will officially close at that time.
"I want to keep cooking and doing what I like to do," Hockett said. "I feel like I let everybody down. Everyone has been so supportive. We just can't financially do it."
Hockett informed the public on the store's Facebook page Friday morning. She wrote: "I want to take this time and let everyone know that as of today we are closing our doors. We have strived to give you the best service, food, and care that we could, but with all the obstacles that we have endured through these few months, we can no longer stay afloat. We want to graciously thank you all for your support and let you all know that it was and will always be my pleasure serving you. There will be some one here all next week if you have any questions, so please feel free to stop in. It breaks my heart letting this go. I thank you all. Stephanie Hockett."
The store was housed inside a 166-year-old building that was purchased by Valerie Gray-Shemeth in December for $72,500. Hockett became the sole operator, only having cooking experience. She offered daily food specials, sold local trinkets, and stocked a full coffee bar.
At the beginning of June, Hockett experienced various maintenance issues that resulted in random store closings, but she said she was determined to stay in business. The septic overflowed, coolers were down for three days and electric wiring wasn't up-to-par.
"I don't want people to think it's the employment or food," Hockett told the Banner on June 13. "The building is 166-years-old and we've put in as much work as we possibly could and still can. We're here, we're still good."
Hockett said that since the septic went, Gray-Shemeth hasn't returned her emails or phone calls.
On July 13, it was stated on the store's Facebook page that hours would change. Hockett thanked everyone for their support through the business' ups and downs. Many expressed remorse on social media for the community staple. "The building started going again and we've had no money since the septic went," Hockett said. "Revenue hasn't been back up and we don't have anything to put back into it. It's just been one dump after another, like a pitfall. We want to stay open but we just don't have the finances."
—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.