Iconic Northeast Kingdom store opens under new management

Cecilia Nysing
Ray Sweeney, the new owner of the recently reopened Currier’s Quality Market in Glover, inspects a round of cheese with Angela Allard on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Ray Sweeney spent his teens learning to cut meat from Jim Currier. 

Jim Currier was more than 20 years into his ownership of Currier’s Quality Market, a staple in Glover since the early 1900s and the only grocery store in this Orleans County town of 1,100. 

Now Sweeney’s 46, and he and his wife, Jessica, have taken up the mantle.

The Sweeneys now own the country store, which they bought last December after Currier and his family decided to pack things up following more than a half-century of business. The store reopened May 28 after months of renovations. 

“I just wanted to basically make sure that this community didn’t lose something that they liked and loved so much,” said Sweeney, who also owns the C&C Market in Barton. “That’s the main reason I jumped in.”

Currier’s market was iconic in the Northeast Kingdom, known statewide for its taxidermy-laden interior, woodsy trinkets and quality groceries. 

That version of Currier’s has mostly been gutted. 

“The whole thing is brand new from top to bottom,” Sweeney said, except for the front door, the wooden floors in the front of the building and an old wooden door on the beer cooler. 

The selfie-magnet stuffed moose and other taxidermy pieces were bought last summer by another area store owner, Josh Olney.

Lights, heating systems and other parts of the store needed upgrades after so many years, Sweeney said, and so did much of the equipment inside it. Code compliance problems added about $150,000 to the roughly $1 million the Sweeneys spent taking over the market, he said.

For the most part, the store’s offerings are the same as its predecessor, such as the Canadian Angus beef Currier carried. 

“It’s just on a bigger scale,” he said.

The wine selection has grown and so has the beverage section. There’s a Vermont gift shop inside. And the building now has air conditioning. The market still sells some basic hardware tools, and Sweeney wants to sell ammunition in the future. Like the old store, he said, Currier’s will again act as a weigh station for hunted game. 

For decades, Currier’s stood as the hub of Glover’s community, and since opening day, it seems like the new owners have succeeded in continuing that tradition.

“It does [seem like a new hub],” said Randy Williams, president of the Glover Historical Society and chair of the town planning commission. “Currier’s was … one of the old-school markets, a combination of everything — hardware, hunting supplies, fishing supplies as well as groceries and a wonderful custom meat department.”

The Sweeneys, he said, have stuck by that ethos.

“I think he’s pretty much hit the nail on the head here with his opening foray,” Williams said of Ray Sweeney. “He’s shown that he wants to be small enough to be user-friendly, to be very neighborly in how he does it. He’s always walking around and talking to customers, as is his wife, Jessica.”

Williams and his wife, Betsy Day — herself a former Glover Historical Society president — visited the store on its opening day. They stopped next door, where Jim Currier still lives, and chatted with him out front. 

Is this all bittersweet? Williams asked Currier.

“He said, ‘Not in the least. I love it,’” Williams recalled.

Sweeney, a lifelong Glover resident, said he’ll be spending most of his time at the new store over the next six months. Eventually, he’ll split his time between the two shops. 

“I was a part of it 30 years ago, and I’m a bigger part of it now,” he said. “We’re very fortunate.”

Currier’s Quality Market is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

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