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BENNINGTON — The downtown can expect an infusion of new java options — along with some live entertainment and exposure to the work of local visual artists and sculptors.

Owner Paul Carroccio said The Coffee Bar is poised to open by Feb. 1 in newly renovated space in the Courthouse/Pennysaver Press building on South Street.

Kate Long, the shop manager, said it will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with live entertainment a few evenings a month, beginning in late February.

“We are working just now at fine-tuning the sound system,” she said Monday.

In addition to entertainment, “There also will be lots of work by local artists on the walls,” she said.

Describing the interior, Long said it has “kind of country/rustic/industrial look. It’s pretty cool. This is more than a coffee shop; there is a lot going on.”

She added that the shop will soon have a website to provide information.

PUTNAM BLOCK SITE

The former courthouse building is one of three historic structures near the Four Corners intersection being redeveloped as part of the first phase of the Putnam Block project. The 2,000-square-foot shop will be located next to the Bennington Bookshop.

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“For me, this is part of my being bullish about Bennington,” Carroccio said.

The Putnam Block redevelopment — also involving the Hotel Putnam and Winslow Block buildings — “has really lifted up Bennington,” he said. “I’m doing my part in the private sector to help.”

In addition to the coffee shop, Carroccio’s TPW Real Estate has marketed space in the historic buildings, and he is involved in renovating the former Bennington Brush building on North Street for reuse, and in planning a major commercial and housing construction project at the former Tuttle's Hardware site off Depot Street.

“Everybody is doing their part,” he added, referring to the Bennington Redevelopment Group, which is overseeing the three-phase Putnam Block project over a 4-acre downtown parcel; Christopher Gilbert, who is redeveloping the historic former Bennington High School building on Main Street; the housing rehabilitation projects of the Hale Resources LLC, and others working on projects or opening new businesses in Bennington.

SECOND SHOP

The new shop, which will be in some ways similar to Carroccio’s TPW Coffee Bar, located near his real estate office in Ludlow, will feature Mocha Joe’s coffee and other drinks, including espresso, along with pastries and other food.

Carroccio said the shop, which he and his wife, Chrissy, will operate, will sometimes stay open until 8:30 or 9 p.m. with entertainment. He said an all-alcohol liquor license is being sought to serve drinks during the evening hours.

His interest in live music stems in part from having played drums with a number of local bands, Carroccio said, and he has financially supported events like the Harvest Moon and Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots festivals, the Dorset Theatre Festival, and the Southern Vermont Summer HomeBrew Festival.

“We hope to serve both community residents and visitors,” he said of The Coffee Bar.

Jim Therrien writes for Vermont News and Media, including the Bennington Banner, Manchester Journal and Brattleboro Reformer. Email jtherrien@benningtonbanner.com

Reporter/editor

Jim Therrien reports for the three Vermont News and Media newspapers in Southern Vermont. He previously worked as a reporter and editor at the Berkshire Eagle, the Bennington Banner, the Springfield Republican, and the former North Adams Transcript.


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