When The Warren Store was a stagecoach stop and inn, the horses would be housed behind the building in the attached barn. About 1918 Roy Long bought the business. It is said that during the Great Depression he bartered land for groceries when his neighbors couldn’t afford food. Much of the land between Warren around West Hill and Sugarbush was his. He owned the store for 52 years -- until 1970 when it was bought by Carol Lippincott. This is part two of the interview with Jon and Pam Rickard, Lippincott’s children.
Valley Reporter Article June 28, 1990.
By Kate Overbeck
Where in The Valley can you find silks from Thailand, jewelry from Turkey, imported olive oils, and a couple of cans of ravioli all under the same roof? Ask any local, and you will probably be directed to The Warren Store. The sign in front of the store reads “Provisions,” but after 20 years in business, store owner Carol Lippincott is quick to explain that she offers more than that.
“We are a grocery, so we like to have enough stuff on hand to make a complete meal, but we offer everything from exotic to everyday kinds of things,” Lippincott states. We also carry a variety of retail clothing including clothing for men and women, children’s toys, jewelry, and housewares. I like to offer one-of-a-kind crafts from around the world, things you don’t see anywhere else.
Lippincott attributes her interest in distinctive items to her art background which she says led her to “an appreciation of the beautiful things people make everywhere.” She studied art in New York City and later took up painting, an avocation for which she has little time now.
When Lippincott moved from Boston to The Valley 20 years ago, she had no intentions of being a store owner. Initially, she came for the skiing, but she stayed because she appreciated the quality of life. “It’s a wonderful place to live. My hat is off to those planners who have protected it. Sometimes I think the community views businesspeople as only interested in business, but I don’t think it’s a main thrust for me. I have a feeling many businesspeople came here for the same reason I did, and business is secondary.”
ONE USABLE ROOM
According to Lippincott, The Warren Store was, “One usable room in a dilapidated building” when she bought it. She immediately added a deli and a bakery, a concession owned by Warren resident, Tim Owens.
Customers, however, were hard to find. “In those early days there were almost no customers. I often left the store unattended and went out to play baseball and other games with people in town,” Lippincott recalls. “I started fixing it up one room at a time and business picked up.”
In 1973, Lippincott opened the upstairs store and gradually began offering various retail items. About 10 years ago she opened the outdoor deck.
The Valley Reporter April 2001
Carol Lippincott, longtime resident Warren and owner of The Warren Store, died April 12, 2001, at home with her family after a short illness.
She owned and operated the store for 31 years. The store was a popular gathering spot for residents as well as visitors to The Valley. For many years the store has been a central part of the Warren annual Fourth of July celebration.
Carol was born in 1928 in Jamshedpur, India, and attended Moravian College.
Back to Jon and Pam Rickard:
Pam: Just by nature Mom was visionary and charismatic. She created a cool place. Mom had an aesthetic that was comprehensive in nature. She always sold what she liked and not what she thought she should sell.
Jon: Except for that first year. She sold a lot of Schlitz.
Pam: She found suppliers that could get her things that other people in Vermont couldn’t. She brought me with her to fancy food shows in Boston and New York. After a while she’d go to LA too.
Jon: Later, when she was more successful and could travel, she would buy things from all over the world. India, South America, China -- she’d bring an empty suitcase and buy things.
By the 80s and 90s customers lapped it up.