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Great Places To Browse and Shop: Visit The Vermont Antique Mall and The Quechee General Store

Jun 13, 2023 12:46PM ● By Maria Buteux Reade Photography By Lynn Bohannon

Co-owners Angela Moore and Cindy Walker.

Stacks of colorful Pyrex bowls and baking dishes. Perfectly reconditioned cast-iron skillets. Racks of vintage dresses, pants, jackets, and handbags. Antique yet functional shop tools.  Tools to tableware. Life magazines to license plates. Cast iron to crystal. Bottles, baubles, bangles, and beads. The Vermont Antique Mall, located in Quechee Gorge Village just minutes from Woodstock, has become a destination for millennials and meanderers, browsers and serious buyers seeking an eclectic array of antiques, vintage goods, and collectibles. “We get a lot of wedding planners, interior designers, and people who create stage sets for movies. They’ll comb the booths for treasures and perfect accents,” says Cindy Walker, who owns the extensive two-floor shop with her husband Mark.

Expanding Their Offerings

The Vermont Antique Mall (VAM) opened in 1983. Cindy and Mark took over the business in 2016 as only the third owners of this beloved haven. The couple widened the aisles, brightened and lightened the space, and created a clean, pleasant atmosphere for shoppers. In the subsequent years, Cindy expanded the business from 40 to more than 135 dealers, operating 200 well-organized, attractive, carefully curated booths. There’s now a waiting list of more than 100 additional vendors eager to secure a coveted space with VAM. “We know our dealers and give them the attention they need and deserve,” she explains. “Our dealers are very creative and have a keen eye for quality merchandise and attractive displays.”

The 10 shops that comprise the Quechee Gorge Village are connected with interior doors that link contiguous businesses; shoppers can pass from one store to the next without exiting the building, a boon in extreme weather. Cabot Creamery operated a retail cheese store adjacent to the VAM, but in 2019, the company decided to reduce their retail footprint. Cabot approached Cindy and offered her the opportunity to become the first independently owned Cabot affiliate store in the country.
While considering the offer, she reached out to Angela Moore, one of her dealers at VAM. Cindy had been impressed with Angela’s marketing savvy, and Angela had volunteered to assist Cindy with social media and special events planning for VAM.  “I asked Angela if she wanted to partner with me and acquire the business next door,” Cindy recalls. “We both saw the potential in that space and went for it.” The friends-now-business-partners closed the deal in the second week of March 2020, just as COVID shuttered the world.

Old-School Store, New-World Vibe

Optimistic and pragmatic by nature, the intrepid entrepreneurs spent the next three months converting the space into the new Quechee General Store. They widened the aisles, rejiggered the interior, and started to order inventory that meshed with their commitment to small-batch, local (Vermont and New England), top-quality products. “Our goal is to celebrate Vermont artisanal goods,” Angela Moore says. “We see ourselves as an old-school general store with a new-world vibe.” Quechee General Store (QGS) opened softly in June 2020 and has been going strong ever since. “We offer some of the lowest prices in the area, and that brings in locals as well as tourists,” Angela notes. “People really appreciate the selection, price, and value. We’re a one-stop shopping destination!”  In addition to the full lineup of mouthwatering Cabot cheeses, butter, spreads, and dips, QGS carries artisanal cheese from Vermont’s acclaimed fromagers. The store has quickly become a local food lovers’ paradise, shelves stocked with maple syrups, honey, jams, hot sauces, cocoas, pancake and muffin mixes, crackers and popcorn, and pickled goods from Vermont’s top producers. “We do a lot of private-label house products, including our QGS coffee that comes from Abracadabra in Pomfret,” Angela explains. And since one cannot live exclusively on cheese and crackers, QGS offers a rotating mix of seasonal Vermont craft beer, hard cider, and wines. Putney Winery maintains a small tasting booth adjacent to the entrance where visitors can enjoy free samples. On selected Saturday afternoons this summer, QGS will offer tastings of maple syrup, cheese, jams, and popcorn.  Throughout the spacious store, Angela has added Mary Meyer stuffed animals, White Mountain jigsaw puzzles, clothing and accessories, and home accents including colorful dish towels, whimsical cookie cutters by Vermont artist Ann Clark, and handsome polished granite cutting boards from Barre. “Every week, we have farmers, small-batch producers, and craftspeople deliver goods directly to the store,” Angela says. “It’s fun for us to meet them and for them to see how their goods are displayed.”

A Bit of Backstory

Both Cindy and Angela come from corporate backgrounds. Cindy managed telecommunication firms in New England while Angela had extensive experience in marketing, design, and retail management. Angela also created her eponymous collection of hand-painted jewelry, resort fashions, and home accents. Both loved Vermont and threw themselves wholeheartedly into running the contiguous businesses. “With both of us coming from corporate backgrounds, we understood the importance of roles and goals,” Angela explains. “So we decided that Cindy would order and oversee the Cabot collection, and I would manage the other artisanal cheeses and additional products in the store. Cindy handles the operational side of QGS, and I manage the purchasing, merchandising, website, special events, and staff. I cross over to VAM to help with special-event planning, marketing, and eblasts. We both love this integrated approach to operating these two businesses.” Cindy adds, “I love the dichotomy of running a funky antique mall and a traditional retail establishment. The two places couldn’t be more different, but Angela and I enjoy developing relationships with our vendors, dealers, and customers. It’s all about creating a welcoming and engaging experience for people to enjoy. In both places, you never know what you may find, and new products arrive all the time. That keeps it fun for everyone!”

From eclectic eccentricities at the Vermont Antique Mall to tasty treats in the Quechee General Store, visitors will enjoy immersing themselves in these two women-owned enterprises. With a little searching, you just might leave with a cheerful vintage Pyrex bowl and a bag of muffin mix, or an antique stein waiting for a fresh can of Vermont IPA.

Vermont Antique Mall
(802) 281-4147

Quechee General Store
(802) 295-1180

Quechee Gorge Village
5573 Woodstock Road, Route 4
Quechee, VT

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