Sterling Market Open for Business
The Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting ceremony for Johnson’s Sterling Market was held on Thursday, October 3, beginning at 11 a.m. A number of local and state officials spoke at the event, including Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. Seen above from left to right as they are about to cut the ribbon are store owner Mike Comeau, building owner Antonio Pomerleau, Governor Shumlin, and Vermont Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Lawrence Miller. Others participating in the ribbon cutting that are not seen above were Johnson Municipal Manager Duncan Hastings, Selectboard chair Eric Osgood, and Trustees chair Gordon Smith. Martin photo
by Andrew Martin
The long wait for the return of a grocery store in Johnson is at an end. A ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony was held at Johnson’s Sterling Market on Thursday, October 3. The event was attended by over 50 local community members, and Governor Peter Shumlin was present for the ceremony. Johnson had been without a grocery store since 2011, when the former Grand Union was flooded by spring rains and closed permanently.
Sterling Market had a soft opening on Tuesday, October 1, and according to owner Mike Comeau, who also owns the Richmond Market and the Village Market of Waterbury, his new store saw roughly 2,000 customers and visitors come through the doors in its first two days of business.
The new store is only open due to a large collaborative effort by local, regional, and state officials and agencies, Mike Comeau himself, and the team at Pomerleau RealEstate, which owns the building. Extensive renovations and remodeling to both the inside and outside of the building were made before the reopening, and all new equipment was brought in. The remodeling resulted in a store that looks entirely different from the Grand Union that was flooded in 2011. The only area of the store that even remains in the same location is the deli.
The grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on October 3 kicked off with a welcome by Ernie Pomerleau of Pomerleau Real Estate.
“You’ve invested so much into your community, and without a supermarket it was like not having a heart… I’ve never seen so much collaboration and so much support. This is a phenomenal success,” stated Pomerleau.
Following Pomerleau’s remarks, Governor Peter Shumlin, who was also present this spring when a ceremony announcing plans for the new store was held, made his own comments.
“This is about Vermont Strong – when floods hit, when disaster hits, we’re going to rebuild our community better than how that storm found us,” stated Governor Shumlin during his address at the event, “A huge thank you to this community… now let’s buy local every single time.”
Shumlin also stated in his remarks that the biggest thanks for the reopening of the store should go to the local boards, commissions, and citizens who would not let flooding take away the heart of their community.
“…It was really you that made this possible,” he remarked.
After the remarks by Governor Shumlin Vermont Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Lawrence Miller spoke along with Johnson Municipal Manager Duncan Hastings, Johnson Selectboard Chair Eric Osgood, and Johnson Village Trustees Chair Gordon Smith. Each of the speakers explained that getting a grocery store back was giving new life to the town and profusely thanked the Pomerleaus, Mike Comeau, the state, and the local community for their work in reopening the grocery store.
Antonio Pomerleau, the 96-year old founder of Pomerleau Real Estate, first purchased the lot the new store sits on 50 years ago. He also addressed the crowd and gave his compliments on the renovations of the store.
“The store is far superior to what I thought it would be,” he explained.
The final speaker at the event was the owner of the new store, Mike Comeau. He expressed his thanks to all involved with the renovation project and to the community for their support.
“The community really supported me the first day… I look forward to staying here for a long time, and giving you guys the store that you’re looking for, “explained Comeau, “If there’s anything we can do to make the store better, please let me know – I’ll be around Johnson a lot.”
Following Comeau’s remarks came the event everyone had been waiting for – the official ribbon cutting. Taking part in the cutting where Antonio Pomerleau, Governor Shumlin, Secretary Miller, Comeau, Duncan Hastings, Eric Osgood, and Gordon Smith.
Following the ribbon cutting all in attendance were invited inside to see the new store, and a variety of free samples were given out.
Funding for the start-up costs for the work at the new store came from a number of sources, including a Community Development Block Grant, the Vermont Economic Development Agency, the Village of Johnson, the Lamoille Economic Development Corporation, People’s United Bank, Pomerleau Real Estate, and the Associated Grocers of New England.
The Morrisville Fire Department and Morristown Rescue were called to a home on Randolph Road last Monday, September 30, to aid a horse thats hooves had gone through a pool cover. With the help of Dr. David Sequist and Polar Bear Towing the horse was saved! Smith photo
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