Bradford store wins top retail award
By Bruce Edwards
STAFF WRITER | August 26,2013
The Farm-Way store of Bradford was named the 2013 Vermont Retailer of the Year. From left are owners Paul and Bobbie Gallerani; Shelby Metayer, manager; Carol Metayer, president; Skip Metayer, vice president; and Paul Metayer, manager.
Farm-Way, a Bradford company that once sold only feed and livestock supplies, was named the 2013 Retailer of the Year by the Vermont Retail Association.
Customers who shop the Bradford store rave about it, said Tasha Wallis, the VRA executive director.
“People who shop there have a great retail experience and keep coming back,” Wallis said.
She said the store is such a draw it’s become an official Vermont Attraction.
“They’ve really created this destination in a place that’s a little off the main drag,” she said.
When the Metayer and Gallerani families started the business in 1983, the store sold feed and livestock supplies out of an old Purina Mills building. Today, it sells work and recreation clothing, outdoor gear and even housewares.
With name brands that include Patagonia, Columbia, The North Face and Merrell, Farm-Way has $4 million in inventory. Annual sales are $10 million with a customer base that extends beyond the U.S. and Canada to overseas.
The store employs 33 full-time and two part-time workers.
Owner Paul Gallerani said one reason customers are attracted to the store is because of the variety of products, name brands, frequent sales and customer service. There is even an area where customers can exercise their dogs.
But most importantly, Gallerani said, it’s run like an old family business.
“The basic thing is we have a lot of good people working for us (which creates) a whole atmosphere of being a family business,” he said.
Gallerani said the store keeps regular hours, is only open one night a week, and is closed Sundays, which employees appreciate.
The original building at 286 Waits River Road has expanded over the years to its current size of 30,000 square feet. Another expansion is being planned, Gallerani said.
Farm-Way’s commitment to the environment includes reducing its carbon footprint. It receives 43 percent of its electricity from a 59.5 kW solar array system located on the store’s 17 acres.
Other winners for 2013 were:
Advance Music, Burlington – Community Gem award
In 1992, owner Mike Trombley left his job at a local design and engineering firm to pursue his passion for music. He purchased a half interest in Advance Music Center with the dream of turning his hobby into a career.
In 1997, Trombley bought out his partner and by the following year began diversifying and expanding the business.
He started a music lesson program, which now has seven instructors and more than 200 students. In 2001, he added Advance System Design, a division specializing in design, integration, and installation of audio/video solutions.
Four years ago, Trombley bought MusiCraft, a Waitsfield company specializing in instrument sales, rentals, and repairs. The store also has an electronic and stringed instrument repair department.
The company has 22 full- and part-time employees.
Vermont Farm Table, Burlington - Greentailer of the Year Award
Dustin Glasscoe started the eco-friendly furniture business in 2008 in his Shelburne garage, using reclaimed materials and non-toxic finishes as opposed to an industry dominated by high-gloss, manufactured veneers and lacquer-finished hardwoods.
Glasscoe takes material from barns, silos and old structures like the old Waterbury train station. Roughly 50 percent of sales are products made from reclaimed woods.
Through its wood buying, the business also helps support family farms. All woods used are sustainably grown and harvested. Finishes are nontoxic and waste is kept to a minimum.
Awards will be presented at a luncheon Sept. 10, at Boyden Valley Winery in Cambridge.