Farmers market vendors to open downtown stores
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | May 19,2014
Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo
The site of the soon-to-be Ray of Sunshine Bakery in Downtown Rutland is shown on Sunday.
Two farmers market regulars are moving into downtown storefronts.
Ray of Sunshine Bakery and Vermont Truffle Company are both poised to join the ranks of Rutland’s downtown merchants. The bakery will occupy the small vacant storefront adjacent to the Center Street entrance to the alley, while Vermont Truffle Company is in the process of buying the space occupied by the Something Sweet candy shop.
“I’ve been working for Price Chopper for about 15 years,” said John Ray III of Center Rutland, owner of Ray of Sunshine. “The last few years I was in grocery management and it wasn’t making me happy. My passion lies in the kitchen. I followed my dream and here I am.”
Ray’s background includes 11 years on the night shift at Price Chopper’s bakery, three years at Tastee Bakery and time as a cook at Royal’s Hearthside. More recently, he’s been selling artisan breads at the farmers market.
“I decided to do something totally off the wall and unique,” he said.
Ray started from a 100-year-old recipe for Italian peasant bread and tweaked it with ingredients from cheese to vegetables to bacon. He also makes focaccia.
“I became a master gardener back in 2010 and I grow a lot of the herbs myself,” he said. “Everything I do is local. ... That means a lot to me. I have kids and I worry about what they eat and what’s out there.”
Ray said he is shooting to open June 9 and will do bread, rolls, pies, cookies and pastries. He said he expects to be open from around 10 or 10:30 a.m. to around 6 p.m.
“I’m not going to be like a typical bakery open at 6 in the morning,” he said. “I want to be open at 5 o’clock when people get out.”
He said he will also continue to sell at area farmers markets.
“That’s how I got noticed and I don’t want to change that,” he said. “The storefront is only going to help me get my bread out to a wider market.”
Stephen Montanez of Mendon, who owns Vermont Truffle Company with his wife, Anna, said he did not want to go into the same level of detail as Ray regarding his plans as they had not yet closed on the building as of Friday.
“Our intention is to move our production facility from our residence to that facility and also have a retail location,” he said. “We’re probably making around 40,000 to 50,000 truffles a year. We’ll certainly be doing other products in addition to truffles — everything’s still not 100 percent.”
Montanez said they hope to close on the building by the end of June and that if everything goes according to plan, they will be open by foliage season.
A third property may also be in play as city records indicate the former Sabby’s bar and restaurant was sold Monday. The transfer lists R.O.C. Associates of Killington as the new owner, though a search of the Vermont Secretary of State’s database did not turn up such a company. The sales price for the building and its contents was listed as $200,000.