New owner sought for former Sweetie's Deli

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MARLBORO — A few people have shown realtors an interest in taking over what was once Sweetie's Deli and Market.

"There has to be something," said Celine Lacroix, whose family purchased the property on March 30. "I hate to see it vacant. That's why we're really waiting for the right person."

The 3,500-square-foot building is located on 3.1 acres at 1796 Route 9 in Marlboro and is listed for $179,500. Deli slicers, fridges, racks, tables, counters and chairs are on the first floor with an office space on the other side.

A three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment is upstairs. That section will need a "freshening up," Lacroix said, including a coat of paint and a shower.

During a tour on Tuesday morning, Lacroix told the Reformer the location makes a good destination for people who are on their way to go skiing. She said the building has been vacant since 2013 and Sweetie's went out of business in 2011. She believes the property has not been properly marketed.

"We have all the trade fixtures; it's ready to go," Lacroix said. "I think it just needs someone with a dream."

Her family has other commercial and residential properties in the area.

They recently purchased the former TD Bank on Putney Road in Brattleboro and are getting ready to sign a lease. Due to deed restrictions, the space cannot be used as a bank for about three to five years.

Lacroix's family created the 1796 Marlboro Trust to buy the former Sweetie's building. It is being listed by The Masielo Group.

Lacroix considered leasing the space but would rather find an owner "so they feel some sense of ownership."

She envisions the store selling groceries, and Vermont-made beer and products, with picnic tables for customers to congregate in the backyard. She recalled a group of people in Marlboro wanting to run a co-op in the space.

"They weren't able to pull together the money so it was all theoretical," Marlboro Town Clerk Forrest Holzapfel told the Reformer in a phone interview. "Since the late '60s, there's been a store there and it just changed hands a number of times through the decades."

He said the previous owner, James R. St. Jean, took over the property for his sister Joyce St. Jean, who had operated the business before running into financial issues.

Holzapfel had an idea of why the last store may not have succeeded.

"Their business plan moved towards specialty food and coffee and bakery treats but then they had very little in stock of staples for people," Holzapfel said. "And I think that rankled a lot of folks in town."

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.

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