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2018 Update #37

If Not Ben Franklin, What?

Like me, you may have viewed the Going Out of Business signs that went up in the windows at Ben Franklin earlier this summer with a mixture of “not surprised” and “what a shame.” Ben Franklin has been a Middlebury institution since 1943.

And then Clay’s left Middlebury rather unceremoniously in late June after some 25 years of selling women’s clothing on Main Street.

I don’t know all the details behind the decisions made by the business and property owners involved. But it did get me thinking about how few people determine which businesses make up a downtown that caters to thousands of locals and visitors.

But what if we owned the town?

What if we decided which stores we wanted downtown?

With this in mind, I put together a one-question survey to help us think about the future of our downtown as we make our way through three years of construction. You can take the survey here.

That’s all for today. See you downtown.

Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.

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