PUTNEY, Vt. — An iconic local retailer has been sold.
Mike and Kim Cosco bought the Putney General Store Wednesday for $120,000, after finding it through an ad on Craigslist. But the Putney Historical Society will continue to own the building.
The store was originally built in 1796. In 2008, the historical society bought the building after an electrical fire damaged the second floor. In late 2009, it was completely burned in an arson fire. After rebuilding it the second time, the historical society leased it to proprietor-tenants, who owned and operated the business. When the last owner died in 2016, board members Lyssa Papazian and Betsy MacIsaac stepped in to co-manage the store.
The Coscos have owned and run the West Boxford General Store, north of Boston, for the past eight years.
“When we walked into the Putney General Store, we both felt like we have been in training ... to run this much bigger, but otherwise similar, store,” said Kim Cosco. “We expect to achieve great things for the general store, for the town of Putney, the surrounding area and for the community at large.”
Mike Cosco said the store’s 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. hours won’t change any time soon. But the couple does plan to create a larger seating area in the front to create a more sociable environment.
Souvenir items will be displayed near the front of the store, including maple syrup products, postcards, T-shirts and items made in Windham County and the surrounding area.
Kim, whose experience includes running a Hallmark Gold Crown Store, plans to open Phoenix Gifts on the second floor. The name is derived from the Putney General Store’s history of rising from the ashes. The gift shop will sell local craft goods, Vermont- and New England-made products and unique items from around the world like soaps, lotions, candles, local art, jewelry, clothing, home decor, toys, candy, books, greeting cards and gifts. The Brattleboro Development Credit Corp. approved a $50,000 loan for the gift shop on Aug. 28.
Mike, who holds a marketing management degree from Syracuse University, ran a farmers’ market for four years while he ran the Boxford store. He will focus on the general store, including fresh foods and meals.
The Coscos are seeking approval to install a small hydro power plant behind the store, near Sackett’s Brook, to generate the electricity for the enterprise.