It’s dark as Village Grocery owner Troy Kingsbury unlocks the front door of the Waitsfield business shortly after 5 a.m. and makes the first pots of coffee. He turns on many of the store’s homemade lamps, checks the coolers and turns on the ovens. Around 5:30 a.m. the first donuts are being made and the first customers arrive at “the VG,” as it is known by locals.
Lexi Graham arrives next to start the breakfast sandwiches and fill the case with the fresh ingredients that the VG deli will need for lunch. Lexi might make some cookies or work on some other hot food items to add to the homemade chili that the late Gloria Clark perfected during her time in the deli. And she always cooks bacon. The VG goes through 75 pounds a week!
Around 6:45 a.m. Jim Moulton arrives dressed in his classic Hawaiian shirt, mostly unbuttoned, and shorts duct taped where needed, if there is no snow on the ground. Since 1998 Jim has been a fixture at the VG. He checks the coffee to make sure that the organic 802 Coffees are brewed and takes up his station behind the register. With deliberate cadence, Jim starts ringing up the friendly faces that appear almost daily. Kingsbury is relieved of his post out front and checks to see if anything is needed in the deli. Crystal Downy, aka Miss Delightful, waltzes in, says her good mornings and looks over what needs to happen in her deli.
Although the case is full and some items are prepped, the daily special that she cooks from scratch has to be prepped and ready to go by 11 a.m. Will it be a pot roast, Cabot mac and cheese, or some other soul soothing delight that creates the steady crowd for lunch? On this day, a quick call reveals that the team needs to have a lunch order ready for 30 people by 12:45.
Once the deli is sorted, Kingsbury works on the paperwork and starts to order products needed to restock the shelves.
Around 8:30 a.m. Curtis and Tymber arrive with their aides, Darla and Sherry, from Upper Valley Services.
“The Village Grocery would not be what it is without our outstanding co-workers,” Kingsbury explains. “Darla and Sherry keep the boys on task. Tymber punches in and gets to work stocking the coolers and taking care of the recycling as Curtis show offs the new Matchbox car that he has. Curtis has the most extensive collection, with a different car to show off each day. Perhaps with a quick hug or even a race in the middle aisle of the store, work will begin for Curtis. Curtis and Darla make sure that the coffee is fresh and hot, that the store is swept and the trash cans are ready to be filled after lunch,” Kingsbury said.
Just after lunch, Gordon Sparks rolls in to enter some of the invoices and to check orders.
“Gordon is a wizard when it comes to memory and he can tell you what you sold on the second Tuesday of March – in detail. Gordon ensures that the VG stays afloat and that we have the right products on the shelves during the right times of the year,” Kingsbury added.
At 2:30 Connor Dowd arrives to relieve Jim. In the middle of trying to balance his college classes and life as a 20-something, Connor is one of the anchors that keep the VG going at night. Connor can carefully direct you to the hidden beer troves of the walk-in cooler, while making sure that kids do not make too big of a mess with the sprinkles, which are hidden, for the self-serve creemee machine.
“From 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. this is a team effort that relies on our great employees and, of course, our customers,” Kingsbury concluded.