Retreat Farm buys Grafton cheese shop
BRATTLEBORO - On Monday, December 12, Retreat Farm purchased the former Grafton Village Cheese Company building from the Windham Foundation, bringing the community closer to transforming the 34,000-square-foot building into a regional food center, offering a vibrant marketplace for local producers, and complementing Retreat Farm’s land-based programming.
The acquisition of the building was fully funded through a $3 million Senate appropriation secured by Sen. Patrick Leahy. Administered by the Small Business Administration, the grant covers the building’s $2.25 million acquisition cost and $750,000 in infrastructure improvements and renovations.
Under Retreat Farm’s ownership, GVCC will be the primary tenant of the building, maintaining their retail store, warehouse, and cut-and-wrap facility through at least 2023.
GVCC’s manufacturing will continue to be performed in Grafton after GVCC permanently consolidated manufacturing there in April 2020.
Retreat Farm has formed an advisory committee as planning commences, drawing on expertise from across the state and New England. The committee currently includes Bob Allen, former CEO of the Windham Foundation; Lee Bradford, of the Brattleboro Co-op; Vern Grubinger, of UVM; Buzz Schmidt and Kristin Sullivan, of Retreat Farm; Luke Truman, of Allagash Brewing Co.; and Steve Voigt, former CEO of King Arthur Baking.
The advisory committee will help guide the development of a sustainable business model that showcases Retreat Farm’s connection to the land, strengthens the regional food system, and catalyzes economic growth. Listening sessions will also be held to get input from a wide variety of community groups, producers, and other stakeholders.
For more information or to become involved in the food center project email Kristin Sullivan at email@example.com.