To learn more about rebuilding Dot’s or to make a donation visit rebuilddots.com.
Originally published in The Commons issue #144 (Wednesday, March 21, 2012).
The Reagans anticipate returning to a breakfast and lunch schedule, accompanied by four nights of serving dinner.
Flood insurance won’t cover the estimated $800,000 project, so the Reagans have turned to local foundations for fundraising.
“Band-aids aren’t going to fix this building,” said Patty Reagan.
The Preservation Trust of Vermont, the Wilmington Fund, and The Friends of Deerfield Valley have committed to funding the renovation.
According to Paul Bruhn, executive director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the project still has about $250,000 to raise. Along with individual donors, the Wilmington Fund has donated $50,000, and the Friends of Deerfield Valley has promised to raise another $100,000. Donations to the project are tax deductible.
Patty Reagan said that without the donations the renovation would have remained unimaginable. If the couple had invested their own capital, she said, they would never see retirement, and the business’ resale price would skyrocket beyond what most potential buyers could afford.
“Anyone who could afford [the business] wouldn’t want to work that hard,” she said.
The couple hopes to mentor another young couple in the business when it comes time to retire.
Patty Reagan said that the couple considered throwing in the towel but did not want to give up their commitment to the community.
“[The Reagans] have been on a long, twisty, turn-y road, but in the end they really made this decision for the community,” said Bruhn.
The Preservation Trust, which has the mission of helping to maintain Vermont’s village centers, will help guide the Reagans during the renovation process and act as the umbrella nonprofit for individuals looking to make donations.
A successful community needs gathering places that serve its whole population. This intersection of all facets of a community fulfills an important role of giving residents a place, one where they can connect, meet, debate, even catch up on the weather.
People require what Bruhn calls a “third place” to keep them engaged with their community. The common first and second places are the their homes and work places, respectively.
The third place should be a place like a general store, post office, bookstore, or diner where people can connect with neighbors they wouldn’t normally encounter.
“Wilmington is lucky that Bartleby’s Books rebuilt and rebuilt quickly [after Irene],” he said.
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