Historic Vermont Store Up for Sale

An iconic country store is for sale in Vermont's Addison County.

"We have been really lucky to be here," said Sue Collitt, who owns the Ripton Country Store with her husband, Dick.

The business is a throwback to simpler times. A place where some of the candy still costs a penny, where the gas pump uses a spinning price wheel instead of a digital display, and where a hand-cranked cash register and wood stove are key to the operation.

The Collitts, however, are not frozen in time. Now in their 70's, they want to retire, after 42 years running the landmark in this town of about 600 in Vermont's Green Mountains.

"I will be sad to leave here," Sue Collitt told NBC 10 Boston. "But we have to do it. It's time to travel. Time to do whatever we haven't been able to do."

For more than four decades, the couple has opened up shop every day but Christmas, with the store doubling as Ripton’s post office.

"They're the soul of the community," customer Ellie Holsman said of the Collitts.

The Collitts believe they're just the fifth owners of the business since the 1870's, and are looking to sell it to the sixth for $225,000.

The front porch is locally famous for the intentional misspelling on its ice chest. Decals read "iec" instead of "ice," in reference to a mistake long ago that now serves as a way to check who’s paying attention.

"You could probably take this store and plop it back into 1930 or 1940, and people would be real comfortable coming in," Dick Collitt said.

"Of course we'll miss Dick & Sue," customer Hilda Billings said. "They’ve been here a long time. They've been good people here and I hope somebody will keep the store going."

The sale of the store even attracted the attention of the New York Times. After an opinion article penned by Ripton resident Bill McKibben, a prominent environmentalist and author, ran this weekend the Collitts said prospective buyers started calling from as far away as Texas.

"We turned a couple people down already," Dick Collitt said, explaining he needs to be sure the place goes to someone who understands the hard work they're in for, as well as the store's key role at the center of daily life for many.

"We want somebody who’ll be a good caretaker."

And when they do find that caretaker, Dick and Sue Collitt promise they’ll be in regularly as customers, ready to enjoy the Ripton Country Store from the other side of the counter.

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