About 2 years ago now, after Manchester had proved to be a good move for us, we set our eyes on further expansion. For us that meant Rutland. One of the few epicenters in southern Vermont and the state as a whole. We were lucky enough to find a location right on rt. 7 in a prime area. This, however, came with the added price of redoing an old gas station. During the renovation we fielded many complaints about how long this process took us but there was good reason for it. Now being six months in to opening hopefully this can shed some light on the process and everything we did to completely beautify the building.
When we found our current location in Rutland it seemed like a homerun. Great location, visibility, at a stop light, and it came with some historical meaning to the area. Because of its sentiment, and our love of nostalgia we wanted to redo the building instead of tearing it down and starting fresh. This proved to be MUCH more difficult than we imagined.
Let’s start with the condition of the building. To say, “it needed work” would be giving it a compliment. Everything from the floor to the ceiling needed to either be replaced or fixed. The floor still had the hydraulic presses and oil drains. The walls were horribly damaged from 20 some odd years of neglect and water damage - and the roof, you guessed it, had waterfall sized leaks in it. Fixing the roof and floor were number one. The roof wasn’t as much a problem of time but of financial distress, I wasn’t overly knowledgeable on roof reconstruction but the bill was a genuine heart-stopper. However we got it completed relatively quickly so that we could move on to all the other projects that were on the seemingly never ending list. The floor was next on the agenda. This was also supposed have been a fairly timely and easy project had we started in the spring time but since we had to deal with the roof first it pushed us back to the late fall and winter came fast. Last winter was a real one too, cold weather with lots and lots of snow. This gave our new heating system the priority so that we could work inside. Because, why would the heating work properly? That would be too easy. To start installing our new heating system we had to remove some of the existing unit, or what was left of it. This would have been a very standard job if it didn’t mean first removing the old 500-gallon oil tank which was perched on 2 4X4’s in one of the back rooms. Truly, to this day none of us know how they got this tank where they did, or more importantly, why? After taking the tank down and out we were able to move all our equipment into a much more workable space in another one of the less used back rooms. At this point it started to feel like we had made some legitimate progress! That meant we could get a myriad of other jobs done.
Next up, the long awaited floor job. First thing was first, and we removed the hydraulic press which was still affixed to the ground and taking up a good portion of the room. Some Vermont ingenuity, a tractor, and we were able to get it out. This opened the room and gave us the opportunity to get going on finishing the floors, after we scraped off all the decades old oil sludge off ground. Once we got the floor cleaned up, the walls were stripped and all of the old wiring was taken out of building. At this point it was a full court press to get everything done as quickly as possible. Mind you it’s late winter/early spring at this point and we thought we were going to be open for the previous Christmas. Things went much more smoothly from then on, except for having to replumb our floor drains a month out from opening because they began backing up and we figured out this didn’t drain where we thought they did. We also still have issues with out paint adhering to the exterior of the building and have accepted that touch ups will always be a part of our future.
There are a few people who were truly dedicated to the project and are the ones to thank for the beautiful “new” building we now have. Doing this project in house provided a unique insight into remodeling work spaces and gave us a lot of creative freedom which was as fun as it was educational. Projects like these truly prove, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Having the store now being open and successful we could not be prouder of all our work. Please stop in and check out all the amazing products we have for the Rutland area!