Perhaps the most interesting thing to know about The Den at Harry’s Hardware is how it is Cabot’s first bar in recent memory. The bar’s construction took place near the end of 2019 when Johanna Thibault and the previous owner wanted to create a place for the community to gather. Following the lifting of COVID-19 safety guidelines, The Den at Harry’s Hardware now acts as a thriving venue for the local Cabot community to gather, listen to live music, and connect in a family-friendly environment.
The Den at Harry’s Hardware is bringing a new vitalization to the Main Street of Cabot and this trend has continued even despite the pandemic.
Contrary to the experience of most towns throughout the country, Cabot saw a growth of businesses in its downtown area during the height of the pandemic. In April 2020, when the pandemic was beginning, Cabot Village Venture purchased the property on 3075 Main Street, renovated it, and began to house local businesses at the property. Johanna Thibault, who is also a part of the Cabot Village Venture, described the luck they had with the building: “While the timing was a bit frightening to takeover management of an empty commercial building in Cabot during a pandemic, the universe was on our side and things fell together.”
Since its renovation, the building now hosts The Cabot Café and Cabot Creamery’s Village Farmers store. These two businesses, through the Cabot Village Ventures have been key in establishing a more centralized economy in the heart of Cabot.
Prior to the creation of Cabot Creamery’s Village Farmers store on 3075 Main Street, Cabot’s visitor center acted as one of the town’s main tourist attractions. However, because it was tucked away a quarter mile down the road from the town center, the Cabot community did not receive much benefit from this
tourist traffic. Though the visitor center was disbanded because of COVID-19,
the Village Store is meant to act as a new place for tourists to learn about the
history of Cabot Creamery while also being able to shop for products produced by local Cabot farmers. Amber Sheridan, who acts as the director of corporate communications for Cabot Creamery,
was able to speak on what the Village Store is bringing to the community: “We are hoping to be able to draw in visitors so that we can tell the Cabot story while also helping contribute to the revitalization of the village.”
By relocating to the property on 3075 Main Street, the Cabot Creamery’s Village Farmer’s store is aiding in creating a further appeal for people to visit the heart of Cabot. The Cabot Café, also one of the businesses
being supported by the Cabot Village Ventures, has been acting in support of this economic opportunity. Renee Rousseau, one of the owners of the Cabot Café, welcomed the influx of tourists, reporting on how that market is now a significant portion of their business. While these new businesses show the economic significance of a more centralized downtown area, there is also something to be said about the ways in which the community has been supported by the new developments. The Den at Harry’s Hardware had, throughout the pandemic, provided different food distribution programs in Cabot with meals from their kitchen. This proved to be a major benefit for the community as The Den’s owners saw a massive inflow of
meal orders: “For three months we were making upwards of a thousand meals a week that were being distributed through the Cabot food shelf and also the Plainfield Health Center’s food distribution program.” The Cabot Café has also been supporting the community by being involved with Everybody Eats, a
government subsidized program that allows people to get meals for free.
Since the lifting of COVID-19 guidelines, The Den at Harry’s Hardware began to host weekly old-time jams that include several local and out-of-town musicians gathering to play folk classics. On the Fourth of July, they saw a full house on their outdoor patio and were able to work with the Cabot Cafe to serve food during the event. It is clear the economic benefit that these businesses have to offer to the community, but perhaps overlooked, is the social aspect they provide to downtown Cabot.
Through the efforts of these businesses, the community now has a place to gather and visit with one another; a place to meet with fellow community members and out-of-town tourists. The Den is open to serve food Thursday through Saturday from 4:00 to 8:00 pm; Cabot Cafe from Thursday to Friday 7:30 am- 3:30 pm and Saturday to Sunday 8:00 am – 3:30 pm; Cabot Creamery’s Village Farmers Store Friday and Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
The Community News Service is a partnership between the University of Vermont’s Reporting & Documentary Storytelling program and Vermont community newspapers.