|Gunderson, far right, talks to customers. (Valley News photo by Jennifer Hauck)|
The residents of South Pomfret, Vermont, see the Teago General Store as a community hub where they could have a cup of coffee with a neighbor and catch up on the local news. But owner Chuck Gunderson, with his reserved demeanor, says he's the "antithesis of what a general store owner should be," Matt Hongoltz-Hetling reports for the Valley News in Vermont. When he bought the store on the auction block 30 years ago, he didn't realize that social skills would be involved.
"I kind of pictured myself sitting at the desk up front there, with plenty of time to read or write or do whatever I wanted and, you know, sell a few canned goods and things like that in between," Gunderson said.
Since he has just sold the store, he's reflecting back on his 30 years as a country store owner: what he did to improve the place, his not-so-secret passion for rock 'n' roll as a moonlighting DJ, his frequent columns in the Vermont Standard about his experiences minding the shop. When customers realized he loved music and literature, they began striking up more conversations.
"It hasn’t brought me out of my shell so much as maybe it’s brought other people into my shell," Gunderson told Hongoltz-Hetling.
But at 73, Gunderson is ready to retire. He ended up selling the store to Kathleen Dolan, a Pomfret resident who moved from New York City 15 years ago. She's already making plans for how to improve the store, and says the Teago General Store will be here for decades to come.