“The Making of Home” by Judith Flanders has found its own home in our store’s nail bins, which now have the role of a bookcase. The book traces the 500-year history of home; its structural physicality, its décor and belongings, its rituals and traditions, but moreover how “house” becomes “home.”
As many of you have gathered, history and home is an important part of our store’s breath and heartbeat. Walking through our vast, original 1810 brick and mortar structure elevates your soul to a total euphoria of contentment, perhaps a bit of melancholy, but in reality a happiness that is both relaxing and inquisitive. You stand up straight and your gait is gentle and graceful, as your footsteps enliven your imagination of 19th century life in a Vermont general store.
Following the creaky, oiled wooden floors, looking above to vintage crates, tins, and boxes, taking a long glimpse at scales, tools, wooden signs – you marvel, and rightly so. Snippets of history typed or handwritten from the desk of our great-grandfather, Frank Henry (F.H.) Gillingham, prove the longevity of us, our home since 1886.
There is truly something to be said about “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” We certainly have evolved with the times, but really have maintained the traditions and appearance of the business that has sustained us, and the community for the last 130-plus years. Within the slat walls, you’ll be taken by the charred beams (from a fire long ago), the iron scrollwork, that old desk, the armoires, sap buckets, wooden display shelves, farmhouse tables, the tiny chairs, light fixtures, and historic photos – all providing the sentimental value of our store, which is our home when we are here. Even our staff, a cast of old-souls, some still in their teens, are instilled with good ‘ole Vermont spirit, vim and vigor.
Stop by and peruse our rooms, furnishings, linens, kitchenware, home décor, books and toys. Sneak a discreet peek into our medicine cabinets and smell our soaps. Try on our shoes and cuddle with a soft teddy bear. Look through our seed packets and plant the same forget-me-nots from your grandmother’s garden. Rifle through our pantry and gather jams and chutneys. Sit at our table and have a make-believe tea party. Taste a morsel of local cheese from our plates – you’ll never leave hungry. Take your hat off, hang up your coat, and stay awhile. Welcome to our home.