By CYRUS LEVESQUE
STARKSBORO â€” Lori Russell is renting the former Starksboro town clerkâ€™s office and will be opening a general store in the space.
The Starksboro resident thinks the store, to be called the Starksboro Country Store, will be ready for business some time in May.
Starksboro has been without a store like this for about four years since the previous one closed, and Russell thinks that needs to be fixed. â€œI really think our town has missed it,â€? she said. â€œWeâ€™re a very tight community here in Starksboro, and I think we need something like this.â€?
The â€œcountry convenience store,â€? as Russell called it, will have a creemee window, and will feature as many locally made products as possible, including maple syrup from her familyâ€™s farm.
She is renting the old town offices partly because the location of the former country store is unavailable. Though it is no longer a store, its owner is still using it. But Russell is happy with the location of the former town clerkâ€™s office.
The building is on a ridge over Route 116 near Starksboroâ€™s post office with an old stone wall in front of the building. Nearby there is a memorial to servicemen from the area. It has been unused since the town offices moved to a newer building over a year ago.
The building needs some renovating and redecorating before it will be usable as a store. Russell has been occupied with that since she got final zoning approval a couple weeks ago. Her family has been helping with the makeover.
â€œMy daughters (Katelyn Russell, 17, and Taylor Oâ€™Bryan, 11) are a really big part of the progress,â€? she said.
A certain amount of renovation would be inevitable in a project like this. â€œThereâ€™s quite a bit that needs to be done,â€? she said. But even so, Russell is happy with how little work will be required. â€œThe building was very well-constructed,â€? she added.
Like Russell, Starksboro town clerk Cheryl Estey also feels that having a store again would be good for the town. â€œI think the community needs something like that,â€? she said. â€œPeople are really looking forward to this.â€?