Arik Keller, who purchased Paradise Provisions on the Sugarbush Access Road in 2018, has signed a letter of intent with Sugarbush’s parent company Alterra to purchase the business.
Paradise Provisions is near the top of the Access Road, adjacent to Sugarbush’s human resources and primary office building.
Keller is from Newburyport, Massachusetts. He and his family are second-home owners who purchased a home in Warren in 2012.
“We’d driven by the business hundreds of times and thought it was a great little store, a basic convenience store. As visitors, we’d often fill the car with groceries before we left Massachusetts because we didn’t want to drive to Waitsfield to shop once we got here. When the store went up for sale, I spent time with Roberta Elliot, the former owner and got to know her and the business,” Keller recalled.
He said it was harder than he expected, to manage the business as an absentee owner and said that he was proud of the work he and his team did to improve the business.
“We shifted the focus to bring in more local and emerging brands, expanded the food lines, added the tasting room and really worked to make it a place where people could grocery shop,” Keller said.
That entailed expanding the food service, improving ingredients to include healthier options as well as learning the ins and outs of stocking produce.
“It’s a busy little place. One year we sold 16,000 egg sandwiches,” he added.
He credited his team for the work they did, working with the state to make the tasting room a reality. He said his goal, in selling the business is to keep his team in place.
Sugarbush communications director John Bleh said that the resort’s vice-president of food and beverage, Keith Paxman, had been talking to Keller about the sale of the business about a year ago.
“It’s a very successful business and it’s a no-brainer opportunity for us. Our plan is not to change anything. It’s turnkey and we want to keep it successful. We’re expecting a mid-January closing,” Bleh said.
Bleh said that there would be opportunities of scale in Sugarbush owning the business in terms of purchasing power and he said the current staff would receive the full suite of employee benefits.