Middlebury

Featured Co-op Connection Business – Otter Creek Used Books

“The bookstore…had its own special aroma, the incomparable and unforgettable scent of books and dust, paper and ink, type and binding, the dazzling anticipation and excitement of seekers after books.” – Marvin Mondlin & Roy Meador, Book Row.

This is the feeling one has the pleasure of experiencing upon entering Otter Creek Used Books. This special gem, located in Middlebury’s historic Marbleworks, is owned by Barbara Harding and it’s one of the newest local businesses featured in our Co-op Connection lineup. Harding has owned the store for thirteen years. Nine of those years were in the current location and four were in the previous location in downtown Middlebury’s now-demolished Lazarus building. Harding never thought she’d own a bookstore, but while taking a walk downtown one day on a break from her work at the Addison County Chamber of Commerce where she worked to promote travel and tourism, she discovered that the used bookstore was for sale. She walked in to inquire about the price and made the decision that very day to become its new owner. Talk about a leap of faith!

Harding says that she’d always loved books, particularly used books, and has fond memories of walking out of libraries and used book stores with her arms full as a kid. She had a passion for turning this particular book store around, as she’d witnessed its decline over the years and knew it had the potential to be something special. And she has most certainly succeeded in giving it new life, not once, but twice, as the move to the new location nine years ago necessitated another rebirth of sorts.  Now, in the wake of a lengthy and unplanned closure due to the pandemic, Harding once again finds herself in a position to bring this unique little bookstore back to life and she’s determined to do so.

Much is the same as it was pre-pandemic, though there have been some minor changes to store hours and procedures. The shop is now open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm and Harding is not currently accepting books for store credit. While she’s working hard to get back on her feet, she’s politely asking those with existing store credit to hold off on cashing it in. The lengthy closure provided Harding the opportunity to do some rearranging, expanding some categories, condensing others, and she’s bringing in new inventory daily. 

When asked if she has a favorite book in the store, Harding insists that she couldn’t possibly choose just one. She confesses that when certain coveted titles arrive in the store, she tends to keep them in a small stack near her desk so that she can enjoy their presence for a period of time before eventually deciding that she’s ready to part with them. Long-time customers often ask to see what’s in her pile and she jokes that she’s reluctant to share until she’s truly ready for them to have a new home.  A recent title in her coveted stack is Vermont Place Names:  Footprints of History. It’s the third time Harding has come across this particular book and she knows where each of the last two copies landed, so she’s hoping to find another really good home for this one. That is…as soon as she’s ready to move it from her pile. Her general preference is for non-fiction and one of her priorities when initially purchasing the store was to have a dedicated Vermont section, which was absent from the store at that time. Visitors to the store will now find a robust selection of Vermont titles from Frost to McKibben and everything in between. 

In a recent blog post, Harding expressed her appreciation for those who have helped her get through this challenging time. “Thank you to all who called, emailed, walked in to check on me, order books as well as gift certificates, asked for a stack of books to be brought outside to venture through. It was encouraging and helped me get through in ways you’ll never know.” 

There no better time than now to rally around this local treasure. Whether you’re already a loyal customer or it’s your very first visit, you’ll find it to be a warm and welcoming space full of all of the magic and mystery that make a used book store so alluring. There’s something there to satisfy every interest, and Barbara will be there behind the counter to greet you with a smile. 

Barbara Harding, owner of Otter Creek Used Books

 

 

 

Co-op Connection Businesses Re-open!

Owning a small, independent business in the era of mega-stores and online retail giants is daunting during the best of times. The addition of state-wide closure mandates and stay home, stay safe orders made necessary by the global pandemic presented local small business owners with a new set of challenges they could not possibly have planned for. And yet, despite all of the hurdles, our beloved local businesses have rallied! We’ve marveled at the creative ways that many have adeptly pivoted their business plans to accommodate a rapidly changing set of circumstances. We’ve held our breath hoping that those who were unable to shift to online retail due to the nature of their services would be able to endure lengthy closures. And we’ve been heartened to see the many ways that this community has continued to support their favorite local brick-and-mortar stores, despite the challenges.

Moments like these remind us that this community is truly special and make us want to shout from the rooftops as these resilient local businesses begin to re-open their doors. Of course, the caveat is that they must re-open in a way that continues to prioritize community health and safety, so please remember your masks, stay home if you’re sick, observe all social distancing protocols, and take note of posted procedural changes at each place of business. It will take all of us doing our part to make this re-opening of our community businesses successful. 

The Co-op is proud to partner with 20 other local businesses in town through the Co-op Connection and we’ve been particularly excited to see many of them begin to re-open their doors. There are many who provide close-contact services that will require them to remain closed for a while, but there are still ways to support these folks. We’d love to take a moment to celebrate these 20 businesses that make our downtown such a vibrant place and highlight their current offerings. Please note that these hours and conditions are subject to change. Please call ahead or click each business link below to view their web page for the most up-to-date information. This list was last updated on 6.2.20:

  • County Tire Center – Open! Visit Monday – Friday between 8 and 5 for all of your tire, auto, and hybrid/electric vehicle needs. Rest assured they can assist you in a safe and socially-distant manner — they continue to take all precautions to keep the community and their employees safe. Call ahead to schedule your appointment, then call them when you arrive. Make your payment by phone or through their walk-up window.
  • Danforth Pewter –  Open at their Seymour Street location! Drop by (with your mask) and pick up some gifts for the graduates in your life or treat yourself to something special. They’re open Monday – Saturday 10-5 and Sunday from 11-4. Limit 10 customers at a time to allow for proper social distancing. Drop in and show them your support!
  • Green Peppers Restaurant – Open for curbside pickup until 7 pm daily! Order and payment by phone, schedule your preferred pick-up time, retrieve your order at the scheduled time at their outdoor pick-up station located at the front entrance. From Mark and the rest of the Green Peppers crew: “We thank you all so much for supporting us during this time. You are warming our hearts with your generosity! We will continue to be here to warm your bellies with yummy food!”
  • Honey Holistic Esthetics – Due to the close-contact nature of the services provided at Honey Holistic Esthetics, they must remain closed until further notice. However, if you’d like to show your support for this business, please consider ordering a gift card for yourself or a loved one. 
  • Juice Amour -Their Middlebury location is offering online ordering, orders by phone, curbside pickup, and free daily delivery on orders of $25 or more to Middlebury, Bristol, Vergennes, Lincoln, and Monkton! Order online (choose “shipping” option for delivery) or give them a call at (802) 989-7271. Choose from fresh-pressed organic juices, salads, tacos, meal kits, healthy treats, and more! 
  • Jumelles Wellness Midwifery – Due to the very essential nature of this business, this family-centered practice remains open for telehealth and home visits.  Visit them on the web to schedule a consult for home birth midwifery care, doula services, lactation counseling, and childbirth education.
  • Kiss the Cook – The Middlebury location is open for curbside pickup Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11-2 to help equip all of your newfound pandemic culinary prowess. Call (802) 923-6143 to place an order. Gift cards may be purchased online. 
  • Main Street Stationery – Open for phone orders and curbside pickup to meet your needs. Many of us are now working and schooling from home, so whether it’s homeschooling supplies, home office supplies, or all of the essentials to restock your arts and crafts collections, call (802) 388-6787 to place your order and arrange pickup.
  • Maple Landmark Woodcraft – Their retail showroom is now open Monday – Friday from 8-5 and Saturday from 9-4. Masks are required and they must limit the number of patrons to 4 at a time. Martha Rainville says “We look forward to seeing your smiling (masked) faces soon! If you’d prefer not to come in, we are always happy to ship (order online) or do curbside pick-up!”
  • Middlebury Fitness –  As of June 1st, Middlebury Fitness is open! They have adapted the facility so that it now exceeds the CDC and Vermont Health Dept. safety guidelines. They are eager to welcome back old members and welcome new members as they continue to serve our community as we all navigate these challenging times. You can read more information about their reopening here: http://www.middleburyfitness.com/reopening.html.
  • Middlebury Sweets – Open for online orders, curbside pickup, and limited local delivery! Satisfy your sweet tooth and support this fun local business by ordering online or calling call 802-388-4518 between 10 am – 2 pm.
  • Natural Medicine of Vermont – Due to the essential nature of her work, Dr. Miller-Lane remains open and is scheduling telemedicine appointments until Monday, June 1.  Please call 388-6250 to schedule a telemedicine visit by phone or email karri@naturalmedicineofvermont.com. Dr. Miller-Lane says, “Be well, stay safe and we look forward to supporting you in whatever way we are able.”
  • Otter Creek Used Books – Open! Did you read every book in your house during quarantine? Otter Creek Used books is ready to help you refresh your library! Visit Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 5 pm and please observe all posted guidelines for safe browsing.
  •  Otter Creek Yoga – Due to the close-contact nature of the classes provided at Otter Creek Yoga, the studio will remain closed until further notice. However, you may join Joanna Colwell for virtual classes via Zoom on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 10:30 am or subscribe to her youtube channel to enjoy a class when the time is right for you. It’s a perfect way to recenter yourself and counter the stress of these unprecedented times. Your support is critical during this lengthy closure, so if you’re enjoying the virtual classes, please consider making a donation or purchasing a gift card via the links on their webpage.
  • Pro Skin Studio – Due to the close-contact nature of the services provided at Pro Skin Studio, they must remain closed until further notice. However, if you’d like to show your support for this business, please consider ordering a gift card for yourself or a loved one.
  • Stone Leaf Teahouse – Open for online orders and local pickup. What better way to de-stress than with a fresh, hot cup of tea? Order online and pick your tea up Monday – Friday from 11 am to 3 pm. They have many new fresh teas from the Spring 2020 harvest for you to try and a fascinating new blog post to read while you enjoy your freshly brewed cup!
  • Shafer’s Market & Deli – Open 7 days a week for curbside pickup or delivery to Weybridge, Cornwall, Middlebury, and East Middlebury. The ice cream window is open, too! Hours are Sunday – Tuesday 7 am – 5 pm, Wednesday and Thursday 7 am – 8 pm, Friday and Saturday 7 am -9 pm. Call 388-6408 to place your order today!
  • Texture Salon – Due to the close-contact nature of the services provided at Texture Salon, they must remain closed until further notice. However, if you’d like to show your support for this business, please consider ordering a gift card for yourself or a loved one.
  • Vermont Sun Fitness Center – Will open at 6:00 am Wednesday, June 3rd!  Hours will be Monday thru Friday 6 am-8 pm, Saturday & Sunday 7:30 am-4 pm. This also includes the pool. They hope to begin a limited class schedule as early as the week of June 8th. They’ve been working hard to ensure their facility exceeds the CDC and Vermont Health Department safety guidelines. Please wear your mask and follow all posted safety procedures. To learn more about their safety protocols, click here.
  • Waterfalls Day Spa – Due to the close-contact nature of the services provided at Waterfalls Day Spa, they must remain closed until further notice. However, if you’d like to show your support for this business, please consider ordering a gift card for yourself or a loved one. 

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