Mountaineers' Eddie Walbridge takes over East Calais General Store
December 7, 2005
By Joshua Larkin TIMES ARGUS STAFF Eddie Walbridge of Calais leans against an old post in the Calais General Store as contractor Sean Walsh of Barre repairs a section of floor in the background.
Then just after reaching agreement, Lange got a shock from Walbridge
Monday morning, Walbridge
officially opened the East Calais General Store
as its new owner, and he
said on Monday night he's
excited about the purchase.
"I'm tickled to death," Walbridge
said as friends were finishing some painting and flooring work in the store."I'm as happy as can be and I'm just thrilled with the people who are working here."
The Montpelier native and owner of Walbridge Electric Inc.
has no plans to change the store much.Walbridge
said he'll employ the same five locals and aside from moving some counters and shelving around, not much else will be changed.
And that's a good thing, because the East Calais General Store
is about as true-blue Vermont as a general store can get.It's the village grocery and hardware store, carrying everything from fresh local bread to roofing nails.The old wooden floors creak as customers peruse the wares and there's almost always a local sitting by the fire sipping coffee and spinning tales.
"I'm not going to change it much at all," Walbridge
said."My primary focus is going to be serving the town and keeping the prices reasonable.I'm moving to town, so I want a good grocery store.It's just gonna be a nice, little general store focused on the local people."
And when Walbridge
focuses on the local people, good things tend to happen.About four years ago, he
got it in his
mind to do something for local kids.Shortly thereafter, the Montpelier area had its own baseball team, the Vermont Mountaineers
, thanks in part to Walbridge's efforts.And he
says he'll put the same energy into making the East Calais General Store
a welcoming environment for the community. Walbridge
never dreamed of owning a general store, he
just happened to be driving by five years ago and thought it would be a good idea.
"I drove by one day and I thought ... that would be a nice place for me, I'd like that," Walbridge
said.Although it didn't work out back then, Walbridge
said now is just as good a time for him to take over as proprietor.He
at the point in life that he's
ready to do something else other than electrical work.
"Actually, I'm at a point where I'm not gonna be able to keep up with the electrical work, I'm 57," he
...And Walbridge is wholeheartedly joining the Calais community.He
grown up with a number of the locals who've already stopped in the store and he's
also gotten to know quite a few Calais folks through time spent at his
Number 10 Pond summer camp.And to top it off, this past weekend he
wife moved into a home they bought on Kent Hill Road.
"It's been a busy week," Walbridge
joked about the recent changes in his
says he'll continue to manage his
electrical business but that he'll be spending 30 to 40 hours a week in the store.Although he
still hadn't figured out exactly what hours he
'd be open, he
thought Mondays through Saturdays the door would be unlocked from 6 a.m. to about 8 p.m., and on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. As for running the store, Walbridge
said he already knows the secret to success.
"It's just a matter of being yourself and treating people the way you want to be treated," he