Local News

Hartland store celebrates grand opening

By Curt Peterson

After a couple of postponed openings, BG’s welcomed the public at dawn on Monday, Feb. 13 with free coffee and freshly-made brownies.

The iconic institution and gathering place in Hartland Three Corners for more than 40 years, closed Jan. 1 when new ownership took possession. Six weeks of serious renovations began, under able supervision of new manager Ian Rose.

“I can honestly say,” long-time owner Bill Gaucher told the Mountain Times, “this was the first time in 42 years the store was closed for a full day.”

Gaucher will be working to support Rose for at least a few weeks.

The store has the same area, but seems much larger. There are more products offered, but greatly improved lighting, new shelving and fixtures, and strategically changed layout make it easier to move around and shop.

There’s enough of “old” BG’s preserved to make long-time customers feel at home, and the presence of familiar faces — Barbara Dow, Keri Esty, Carol Whitney and Logan Rediker, to name a few — added comfort as one walks on all-new floors and marvels at the neatly-stocked shelves and new counter tops.

Rose, who set up and opened the Skinny Pancake in Quechee, said BG’s was already one of the most successful and well-run small stores he’s seen.

“We’re only changing a few things to improve the customers’ experience and help them find what they want,” Rose said. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”

Rose has lived in Hartland for seven years and has two children at Hartland Elementary School. He was very familiar with “the BG’s experience” and loves the community.

“The store is so bright, and seems so much larger and easier to maneuver in,” Helen Stocker, who came from Windsor to see the new layout, told the Mountain Times. “I like it,” She bought two New York Strip steaks to cook on the grill.

Nicole Bartner, owner of the Hartland Diner and one of the first customers, admired the new coffee station. Grab-and-Go breakfast sandwiches beckon coffee customers from a warming display.

“This is great!” Bartner said, looking around the “new” store. 

Tom White, former selectman, was very impressed. “This is really something!” he said.

Greg Bjorkman stopped on his way to work and promised to come back later to “look around more.”

Hartland Fire Chief John Sanders and his wife Nikki Buck remarked how impressed they were with the appearance of the store.

Although the renovations were extensive, the biggest delay was licensing, permitting, lottery setup, fire inspection and other bureaucratic processes. 

Ms. Esty will be behind the new “Butcher” counter. Premade sandwiches and store-prepared foods such as soup-of-the-day, Shepherd’s Pie and Macaroni and Cheese will continue, as well as popular McNamara’s dairy products.

Most people said they never realized how much they depended on BG’s until it was closed.

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