Home News and Features Open for Business! Blanchard Block Stores Reopen

Open for Business! Blanchard Block Stores Reopen

Anna Groberg checks out the open sign at Notion Fabric and Craft last Friday, Sept. 1. Notion was one of several downtown businesses that were able to reopen in time for Labor Day weekend, 52 days after the July 10 flood. Photo by Mary Margaret Groberg.
For the first time in nearly two months, at least part of Montpelier felt festive last week when four businesses reopened after the July 10 flood that ravaged downtown. Balloons and several “Open” signs festooned the area as Bear Pond Books, Capitol Stationers, Notion Fabric and Craft, and Splash Naturals reopened on Friday, Sept. 1. Zutano Outlet, which has temporarily moved to the second floor above its usual Main Street location, joined the four businesses in an invitation to the public to support the mom-and-pop shops that had only weeks ago been filled with water, mud, and silt. 

“We had an amazing turnout on Friday and all weekend, with sales two to three times what we would normally expect. We were truly blown away by the support of the community, as we have been throughout this process,” said Mary Margaret Groberg, owner of Notion Fabric and Craft. “… You could tell that folks were so relieved and excited to be out shopping in downtown Montpelier again — and it was a huge relief for us too! We’re hoping to resume our schedule of sewing and knitting classes in the next month or two.”

Eric Bigglestone, owner of Capital Stationers, said several children came in the store, excited to get balloons again. He credited building owner Tim Heney with rebuilding quickly, as well, which is why the businesses were able to reopen when they did.

From left, Kent, Don, and Eric Bigglestone pose in front of Capitol Stationers, which also reopened on Sept. 1. Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur for the Times Argus.
 “We had a fantastic opening day,” Bigglestone said. “From familiar faces, to the passing-through tourists, it was so great to see folks coming through our door once again. … foot traffic was heavy and sales were reflective of that. We are excited to be back in business and hope everyone likes the changes we have made to the store layout.”

“It felt like the weekend before Christmas, the biggest difference was that no one was in a hurry,” noted Kelly Sullivan of Splash Naturals. “Our community wanted to hear our stories, hug us, and restock their favorite products.”

The five businesses that opened Sept. 1 are all located in Montpelier’s Blanchard Block, at 65–77 Main Street in Montpelier. 

“Our reopening was incredible, very busy, lots of hugs and even some tears of joy,” said Bear Pond Books co-owner Rob Kasow. “We can’t thank the community enough for helping and supporting us in our time of need. Montpelier and the surrounding towns rock!”

A crowd filled Bear Pond Books on Friday, Sept. 1 when it joined three other downtown Montpelier businesses in reopening after the July flood that day. Photo by Claire Benedict.
Several neighboring businesses hope to reopen in the coming weeks, according to a press release sent by Dan Groberg.

Montpelier Alive keeps a list of businesses with updates on their flood recovery and how to support them at montpelieralive.com/flood2023bizopenings-