CHESTER, Vt. – An innovative business model has opened on Chester’s historic green. Faced with an empty building after the pandemic, Sharon Baker decided to try something very cutting edge for this little village. Dividing the space into five mini retail operations accomplished two things. It was a way to cut the fixed cost for each start-up business by 75% and allow the creation of a retail mall effect under one roof. It also offered an opportunity that otherwise would not exist for several would-be entrepreneurs. The Annex, 78 The Common in Chester, is open seven days a week with each business setting their own hours of operation.
The transformation of the space has been almost magical to say the least. Tenants were given the opportunity to paint and decorate their room to accommodate their style. The Annex is now home to a thriving small business community as follows.
Felicity Haselton has been hanging her framed artwork in the entry hallway in our Annex Gallery. Her style is unique and colorful. She is expanding her innovative line to include shirts and coffee mugs of her prints.
Down to the Roots Quality CBD is owned and operated by Scott Blair and Kassidy Cummings. This began in Scott’s nearby restaurant, The Southern Pie Café, as the CBD and Chill Corner. Now it has its own dedicated space in The Annex. Bringing CBD to the forefront by educating the public about the benefits for different ailments has been the goal from the very beginning. Their line is ever expanding and includes bath and beauty products, dog treats, and educational reading material. They also continue to build on the original inventory of tinctures, gel caps, edibles, and topicals.
MK Boutique, owned and operated by Brianna Hale, brings a fresh look to children’s clothing. Her happy dresses with prints of watermelons, lemonade, or lace rompers and even tutus are fun and unique for little girls. Headband Bows and coordinated leggings finish off the cutest outfits. Her boys’ line is growing every week and features prints and solids in tops and pants that any youngster would love. Brianna began her business to make a difference in your child’s life when it comes to their everyday wear. New stock arrives weekly.
Hugging Bear 4Ever is a long-time friend of Chester, Vt., and The Annex is their new home. Kristen Merrow was introduced to the bears in 2018 when she helped run the iconic inn and shop. The Hugging Bear Inn has since closed, but the bears were not quite ready to go. Kristen is the new Keeper of the Bears, but they are all looking for their forever homes. They are whimsical, soft, and fun. Stop in to see her collection of adoptable bears.
The Chester Candy Company began because everyone loves candy, and we all need a reason to smile after 2020. The little shop is bright and cheery with old-fashioned candy cases and a 1910 cash register that still works. The candy ranges from lollipops to gummies, to chocolates to truffles. There is something for everyone, and the inventory is continuing to grow.
Congratulations to each of these dreamers! They are making a substantial difference in the community of Chester, but also beginning a new and exciting story in their own lives.