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Vermont Store Revives Beloved Products of Yore


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

Those in search of a hard-to-find gift this season might try The Vermont Country Store. From old-fashioned candy to a copy of a Dick and Jane reader, the store and catalog company in western Vermont searches for items from bygone days, which may no longer be in production, and then it reproduces them for contemporary consumers. Vermont Public Radio's Lynn McCrea went along as a store employee searched for items to make available again.

LYNN McCREA reporting:

Judy Copping becomes almost cagey when asked about one of her finds for The Vermont Country Store. She and some co-workers are checking out a board game called Park and Shop, a game that became popular in the 1950s but has since disappeared from stores.

Ms. JUDY COPPING (The Vermont Country Store): Yes, we found this board somewhere in probably an antique store. Well, we did find it somewhere else, but I don't want to say where because it's a secret.

(Soundbite of laughter)

McCREA: Judy Copping's job is to search for the long-lost products that customers often ask for.

(Soundbite of car starting)

McCREA: Her hunt takes her to libraries, museums and antique stores. Today she's driving a winding mountain road to Chester, Vermont.

Ms. COPPING: Maybe we'll have good luck today.

(Soundbite of door opening)

Unidentified Man: Hello.

McCREA: Inside the Stone House Antique Center, Copping peers into glass cases to check out the latest displays, thinking all the time about what has potential as a revived product. And there's something else she does.

Ms. COPPING: I am a huge advocate of eavesdropping, just seeing how people respond to all of the old things that they're seeing. And sometimes that's just the clue that I need to start doing more research on that type of product.

McCREA: Her best finds are re-created by working with the original manufacturer and wind up here, at the 60-year-old Vermont Country Store and in the pages of its old-timey catalog.

Ms. COPPING: These are little country cows...

(Soundbite of cow mooing)

Ms. COPPING: ...noisemakers. This is a really old product that is timeless.

McCREA: One of the store's most requested items is Woodhue cologne. Hundreds of customers have been asking for the fragrance, which was first introduced in the 1930s.

Ms. LINDA SPINK (Customer): I've been searching for literally years for my mother, who wore it for decades.

McCREA: Linda Spink of West Chester, Pennsylvania, finally spotted Woodhue in The Vermont Country Store catalog. The store found the perfume and re-created the formula and the bottle with its distinctive wooden cap. For NPR News, I'm Lynn McCrea. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lynne McCrea