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Historical Dan and Whit’s Store Looks to the Future with Energy Efficiency

Historic Dan and Whit’s general store, a landmark in Norwich, Vermont, looks to the future with continued investment in renewable energy and efficiency. (Courtesy images)

Meghan Chambers

Like many country stores in Vermont, Dan and Whit’s is a community hub. Operating in Norwich for more than 150 years, Dan and Whit’s is where neighbors pick up necessities – Dan and Whit’s classic motto is “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” It’s a place to go to see a familiar face or catch up on the latest local news. It doesn’t just serve the community, it’s a part of it.

Owner Dan Fraser and his team work hard to maintain this local institution. They keep it open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the year except two; Thanksgiving and Christmas when they lock up at noon. They stock their shelves with the basics, and with special customer requests. They employ about 90 local high school and college students during the course of a year. And they frequently support local nonprofits, including their biggest fundraiser “The 19 Days of Norwich (and beyond), 1% for the Haven,” benefitting The Upper Valley Haven food shelf and homeless shelter.

Rooted in the community for a century and a half, Dan and Whit’s is looking to the future by investing in energy efficiency upgrades.

We are investing in efficient upgrades because of climate change,” said Dan Fraser. “We must change our ways as a society.”

Dan and Whit’s took advantage of a limited-time offer from Efficiency Vermont, in partnership with the Central Vermont Regional Development Corp. The program helped vital businesses move ahead with planned energy efficiency upgrades that may have been delayed due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are working with Efficiency Vermont experts to move their planned upgrades forward, which include upgrading their heating and cooling system to cold- climate heat pumps.

While the limited-time offer Dan and Whit’s took advantage of has now closed, other incentives and technical support are still available to businesses through Efficiency Vermont. The purpose is to help businesses achieve their energy efficiency goals to reduce carbon emissions, improve comfort, and lower operational costs.

Fraser’s advice to other country store owners in Vermont who are considering efficiency upgrades: “Do it now! Efficiency Vermont walks you through the process, making it very easy. The financial incentives are significant, and the energy you save will cover the cost of the project over time. Climate change is real – we must do this. The sooner, the better.”

The first step toward a more sustainable business is to contact Efficiency Vermont. Energy advisors work with businesses to look for cost-effective energy savings opportunities, leverage incentives and other financial resources, and find qualified contractors to get the work done. Call Efficiency Vermont at 1 (888) 921-5990 or visit www.efficiencyvermont.com.

Reprinted with permission from the October 14, 2021 Vermont Retail and Grocer Association’s blog found at https://vtrga.org/news/historic-dan-and-whits-looks-to-the-future-with-energy-efficiency

Meghan Chambers has worked for Efficiency VT, based in Burlington, for ten years. Chambers is a customer engagement leader and helps small- and medium-sized business to identify energy efficiency opportunities.

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