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Hometown Marketplace

State’s foot dragging on tax free weekend rankles merchants

By Rod Lee

It should come as no surprise to legislators on Beacon Hill that the owners of appliance and furniture stores in Central Massachusetts are more than slightly perturbed—and miffed—that  the state is again dragging its feet about whether to approve a “sales tax-free weekend,” good for transactions conducted August 11-12.

“They’re waiting until the last minute like they do every year,” Raoul Chalifoux of Spencer Furniture, 6 Olde Main St. (Rt. 9) in Spencer, said the morning of July 23rd. “It would be nice to know. Summer can be a little slow.”

Enchanted Passage bookstore a fantasyland for kids

By Rod Lee

Eighteen months or so have slipped by since the grand experiment that is Enchanted Passage began operations on Armsby Road in Sutton. Long enough for Kimberly Cake, who owns the children’s bookstore and enrichment center with her mother Sandy Loomis, to feel that a corner has been turned.

Speaking of which, there are a fair number of those in traversing the hallways of a building that once housed Vaillancourt Folk Art, in discovering the treasures that can be found room to room (including unique gifts).

Saddle Shed is Horseman Terry Therrien’s best friend

By Rod Lee

Get Master Horseman Terry Thierrien talking about Ridge Valley Stables on Upton St. in Grafton and in no time at all the conversation turns to his longstanding relationship with the Saddle Shed.

 I have been dealing with them from the day they opened,” Mr. Therrien said the morning of June 14th in his ranch-style home overlooking some of the fourteen acres that Ridge Valley Stables occupies on the westbound side of Rt. 140. The property abuts the Grafton Flea Market.

Auburn is A-OK for merchants and customers they serve

By Rod Lee

Wherever one turns along the main corridors (Routes 12 and 20) that thread their way through the town of Auburn it is obvious that business is thriving.

That is certainly true at Bentley Pub, 602 Southbridge St.; attributable, Owner Jim Taylor said during the noon hour on May 9th, to “a great crew and great staff” that keep customers coming through the door for lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. seven days a week.

“My sales have increased annually for the last three years,” Mr. Taylor said.

GNC’s new store in Webster a healthy step into the future

By Rod Lee

Several minutes with Joe Discordia and his nephew Tom Discordia at their recently relocated GNC store at 2 Worcester Road in Webster is all it takes to realize that they are a literal embodiment of the company’s philosophy: “Live Well.”

The Discordia’s are a happy pair these days in having latched onto retail space “that opened up for us and we took it” in the East Village shopping plaza at one of the busiest intersections in all of South County.

Flooded out, Generations Healing Center finds a new home

By Rod Lee

It was with a sense of gratitude that Del Bachand spoke of her business the afternoon of February 20.

The rest of the year is going to be a lot better for Generations Healing Center than the beginning was, Ms. Bachand said.

She has her son, Steve Bachand, to thank for that.

When Ms. Bachand was flooded and frozen out of her former location at “The Shoppes at 250 Main Street” in Oxford during a cold snap in early January, Steve, owner of Premier Fireplace, 31 Thompson Road in Webster, said “Mom, move here temporarily.”