by Luke Vidic
ORLEANS—After 45 years of ownership, the Swett family will be parting ways with the Evansville Trading Post by the end of the month.
The famous country store, which has been on the market for over a year, will be auctioned off at the end of January.
“It was time,” owner Andrew Swett said Tuesday morning.
The last year and a half of business under the pandemic took a toll on store owners Kelly and Andrew Swett, and coaxed them toward retirement. At times the store struggled to find workers, and sourcing goods in the midst of the pandemic wasn’t easy. The whole experience amounted to a level of stress the Swetts didn’t want to deal with anymore.
But the business, Mr. Swett said, is doing fine. Total sales were up in 2021.
“We’re not shuttering,” he said.
The Swetts don’t yet know who’ll take over in their stead. Businesses and individuals from New Hampshire to Florida have expressed interest. Some have toured the store. One person is considering the possibility of setting up a microbrewery at one end of the store.
Mr. Swett couldn’t say if there was any local interest in buying the store, but he said no one in the family has any desire to take over.
“They see our struggles, so they don’t want to,” Mr. Swett said.
Regardless of who takes over, Mr. Swett said he hopes the next owner will keep the core of the store the same, although there will be no stipulation requiring the next owner to do so.
“I’ll miss it,” Mr. Swett said. “We got some real good customers that come in every day.”
As he spoke, Ms. Swett was wishing good morning to one regular. Another couple came in for their morning coffee, and multiple folks came in for gas, snacks, or this or that on a frigid January morning.
The Swetts stressed that the doors won’t be closing on customers.
“It’s like selling a house,” Ms. Swett said. The keys may change hands, but the front door will still be there.