Efforts to Revitalize Saint Johnsbury

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stj revitSAINT JOHNSBURY -  Over the past several years, there has been an effort to revitalize the town of Saint Johnsbury. The goal is to bring more people to the area, both residents and visitors. A way to do this has been to add to the number of businesses in town. Longtime residents like Gary Ely have seen Saint Johnsbury lose many businesses over the years. Due to this, many have been put out of jobs and left the area.

 "I've been here since '53 and it was a very active town. All the stores were very filled up. We've had a number of businesses close their doors and we've lost a lot of jobs"

Business owners and employees see the potential in the future of the town. Some of the loss of attraction can be attributed to a change of clientele in the downtown district. Manager of Caplan's Store since the sixties Roger Death has seen an influx in community members over the years.

"The people that hang out on the streets, thirty or forty years ago you had a few alcoholics, but now you have a lot of welfare and jail-ridden people of the area which discourages a lot of older and younger folks."

There are some individuals who are doing everything in their power to bring more businesses and people to Saint Johnsbury. Saint Johnsbury Distillery owner and select board member Brendan Hughes has taken initiative in expanding business opportunity downtown in greater effort to attract visitors and show people that Saint Johnsbury has something for everyone.

"I was always going to move back here to help with job creations, owning my own business, and helping with the economics in the area. I just love the area in general. It's what I want for my family and kids eventually someday."

Business by business, Saint Johnsbury is coming back to life. Attractions of the area like Burke Mountain and Kingdom Trails help owners bring more people into their businesses. Both young and old residents of the area are excited to see what Saint Johnsbury is like in years to come.