By LEE J. KAHRS
BRANDON – Brandon’s charm and its emergence from the recently completed Segment 6 Route 7 upgrade has brought a new business to town.
Horse and Hound is a new and used tack shop located at 12 Conant Square and Briggs Lane.
Donna Baldwin is a longtime equestrian and show barn owner who recently sold her Box Elder Farm in Ferrisburgh after 33 years and downsized her business and her life with a move to Brandon.
“I actually have always loved Brandon,” Baldwin said. “For year I said if and when I sell the farm, I would like to live here. It just seems like a quaint, friendly town. It seems comfortable, I like the location and the town seems to be revitalized.”
The Segment 6 project took two-and-a-half years and was completed this month. With Aubuchon Hardware closing at the end of the month and the shuttering of the Eis Co. ice cream shop (formerly The Scoop Shop) on Dec. 21, news of Baldwin’s store is welcome.
Once again, property owner Kate Briggs is responsible for bringing Baldwin to Brandon, as she owns the building where Horse and Hound is located. Briggs also owns the Briggs Carriage building at 8 Conant Square where The Bookstore just opened on Dec. 6.
The Horse and Hound building has been completely renovated in the last few years, and includes a residential space where Baldwin lives as well.
“It was perfect,” she said. “It’s beautifully renovated. It was a perfect fit.”
Baldwin has known Briggs for roughly five years through playing tennis at Middlebury Indoor Tennis.
HED: From the Cape to Brandon
Baldwin is a native of Contuit, Mass. in Barnstable County on Cape Cod, where she got started in horses early in life. She came to Vermont after high school to attend the Grassroots Project (now Sterling College).
“I just fell in love with Vermont and decided that if I ever left the Cape, I would move here,” she said.
In 1988, she moved her farm and her family to Ferrisburgh and started Box Elder Farm. About 12 years ago, she realized there was no one selling used tack in the area, so she started a tack shop at the farm.
“It evolved into new and used tack,” she said. “I paid cash for items instead of consignment.”
Baldwin’s move to Brandon reflects a downsizing and a simplification of her life, but her business sense brought her here as well. There are no new or used tack shops between Green Mountain Tack in Ferrisburgh and Pond Hill Ranch in Castleton, she said.
“As long as you locate where people can get to you, they will come,” she said.
Baldwin is still waiting for her store sign, but she is open for business by chance or appointment. She asks that customers call or email questions about hours, 802-349-6148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.