After 180 years of operation, the Barnard General Store is closing its doors. This hits home for me; my family operated a country store for 17 years, and today, as the executive director of the Northeast Kingdom Travel and Tourism Association (NEKTTA), I hate to see our businesses struggle. The reason for the closing in Barnard, as indicated by the owners, is the loss of tourism revenue resulting from the lack-luster fall foliage followed by a winter with a poor snow product. Tourism, or in this case the lack thereof, is directly impacting the lives and lifestyles of most Barnard residents and those in the surrounding areas. Where will they stop for coffee, pick up the paper, grab something for dinner or connect with their neighbors? That remains to be seen. But they, like you, may not have ever fully realized the impacts of tourism on their lives or livelihoods or on their beloved country store. I happen to be kicking off this weekly column during National Tourism Week. This is a time for all Vermonters, not just those with a direct connection to the industry, to stop and consider the role tourism plays in our lives.
Contributing blogger is Gloria Bruce, Executive Director of Northeast Kingdom Travel & Tourism Association. Download the pdf file to read more. This article was originally published in the Newport Daily Express.