New owner reopens Woodford General Store

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WOODFORD — A long-vacant general store on Route 9 has reopened under new ownership following renovations.

Woodford General Store, located at 5053 Route 9, will offer a wide range of items for purchase, from first-aid supplies to soups and sandwiches to an array of Vermont-related merchandise.

Ryan Hassett, the owner of three businesses in downtown Bennington, purchased the property in September at the urging of his 22-year-old son Christian, who runs the Bennington Pizza House, one of those three Main Street establishments.

"We'll have a little bit of everything," Hassett said.

The new owner overhauled the building's interior, installing natural wood counters and constructing a deli area. The goal of the renovation, Hassett said, was to give the space a century-old but still pristine appearance.

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The building's 2.5-acre lot features gasoline pumps and a pond that in warmer months can serve as a seating area. Hassett said he hopes to have the pumps back in operation this summer.

The property is across the street from the entrance to the Prospect Mountain Ski Area, which a nonprofit group purchased from the Nordic skiing destination's longtime owners in 2018. David Newell, president of the board of the Prospect Mountain Association, said the store's revival is exciting and that he supports Hassett's efforts.

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The previous iteration of the Route 9 store, known as the Woodford Mountain General Store, closed in 2017.

Hassett said he expects the store to serve residents, tourists and snowmobilers. A Vermont Association of Snow Travelers snowmobile trail maintained by the Woodford Snobusters, a local club, traverses the property.

While Hassett doesn't intend for the store to serve as a "full-blown grocery store," he hopes it becomes an asset for community members, who might otherwise need to drive to supermarkets in Wilmington or Bennington for milk and other essentials.

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Drivers headed east from the Bennington area en route to Mount Snow, in Dover, will pass the store, Hassett said.

Hassett and his wife Heather also own Bringing You Vermont, a country store and cafe adjacent to the Pizza House, and Vermont Confectionery, which they purchased last year and relocated from Colgate Park on Route 9 to 516 Main St.

The revamped general store carries candies and chocolates from Vermont Confectionery, and much of the food preparations will be done at Bringing You Vermont, which has a larger kitchen. Without this kind of integrated support from his other operations, starting this new venture might have been cost prohibitive, Hassett said.

The store is now open every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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