With the pandemic waxing and waning and folks reshuffling their careers in record numbers, it’s refreshing to meet a group of co-workers who genuinely enjoy coming to work every day. That’s the case at the state liquor store inside the Grand Union supermarket at 12 North Main Street in Rutland near the intersection of Route 4. For the last two years, store manager Sharon Turner has been running what can only be described as one of the cleanest liquor stores this writer has ever seen. Turner is joined by cashiers Teresa Sheehan, Shane Smith and Sue Chamberlain and stocker Morgan Huntington. “We enjoy meeting the customers, “ Turner said. “We have a lot of fun here.” “More than we should,” Huntington said with a smile. Sheehan and Turner both said that they not only enjoy working together, they enjoy their customers and know the regulars well. First, there are the regulars who stop in every Tuesday when the store takes delivery.
The crew at this state liquor store pride themselves for keeping a tight and tidy shop. That's cashier Teresa Sheehan (left) with Manager Sharon Turner in the photo to the left.
“They come in specifically to see what’s been allocated and what’s different,” Sheehan said. “It’s the same people. They’re very loyal.” Then there are the rest-of-the-week regulars. “The customers know us, and we know them,” Turner said. “We know what they drink and most of them, I see them coming and I know what they’re getting.” The store was a Topps supermarket for the last several years until January, when it became a Grand Union. Turner said that the Topps had been a Grand Union once before, several years ago. In fact, that’s where Turner was working running the service desk when she was asked if she would take the job managing the liquor store. The store’s clientele is a mix of locals and out-of-state skiers and riders coming to Killington and Pico just up the mountain on Route 4. Turner said the skiers and riders stop at her store on their way up the mountain, or after they come down. She said that while the pandemic did slow down the tourism trade, it did not slow down store business at all. In fact, Turner said, it picked up. “We had fewer out-of-staters, but the locals made up for it,” she said. The plexiglass barriers at the cash register just came down recently, she said. The staff said vodka and bourbon are their biggest sellers, and ready-to-drink products are also very popular, like High Noon flavored vodka and seltzer drinks. There is also a Vermont liquor section, and Turner said new products do very well in her store. And Turner clearly likes her work. “I enjoy it here,” she said with a smile, “and I love people.”