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Bub’s Furniture Barn on the block

VERGENNES — Bub’s Furniture Barn has been in Edgar “Bub” Crosby’s family for 65 years, but Bub and wife Meg Crosby have decided the time has come to find new ownership for a prominent property that greets those who enter Vergennes on New Haven Road.
They have listed the 5.36-acre commercial property, which Bub Crosby notes has more than 900 feet of frontage on New Haven Road and Green Street as well as the classic gambrel barn roof, for $699,000 with Lang McLaughry and Spera.
At the same time, they also placed their Bridport lakefront home on the market with the same firm. But Crosby, 65, said he and Meg don’t plan to move far — they intend to look for a Middlebury condo while keeping their South Hero camp, also on Lake Champlain, for the warmer months.
“Middlebury is a nice community. There’s a lot to do there,” Crosby said. “It’s logical choice.”
Crosby said the decision to sell is not financially motivated, but rather that after 25 years of operating the furniture store together and another 15 years running a livestock auction business at the barn before then, the couple would like to slow down a bit.
“This is certainly not a financial decision. We’re in our 60s, and both of us have worked together there for 40 years,” he said. “It’s time for a break.”
The furniture business has always treated them well, Crosby said, with a loyal local customer base.
“We went through the recession with the rest of the world, but we’ve always been viable. It’s always been a well-supported business,” he said. “We’ve always kept our prices consistent and been service oriented.”
The business will remain that way until a sale, Crosby said.
“We’ll maintain the same level of service, same inventory and same people until something comes up,” he said.
But the property has undergone major changes since Crosby’s father first purchased it in 1949 as a milking barn and 220 acres that stretched up Woodman Hill to the south. By then the auction business had already started.
Crosby said his father sold a few lots on Woodman Hill, and his family afterward first developed Crosby Heights in Waltham. As well as running first the auction concern and then starting the neighboring car wash and the furniture businesses, the Crosbys created or sold most of the housing lots and condos that cover southeastern Vergennes: Crosby Farms, Booska Court and more, plus parcels for a church and related school.
“We developed that whole area and designed it. And sold more land for further development,” Crosby said.
Cows were milked in the barn until 1986, when the livestock auctions also ceased. After renovations, the Crosbys opened the furniture business on April 1, 1989.
The one constant, Crosby said, has been that he has made his living on the property and has never punched a time clock at another site.
“I’ve been there since I was born, basically. My whole life has been there, other than college and the Air Force,” he said. “It’s been the focus of my life all my life.”
Crosby believes whoever takes over the property will have plenty of choices, including continuing to operate the furniture business in all of the building, bringing in other businesses to share the space, or treating the entire property as a business incubator or arts, crafts and/or antiques center.
“It’s a wide-open deal. Someone can buy it with the business and inventory, or they can buy it as real estate only. There are a lot of options,” he said.
Crosby said he and Meg considered doing some of those things themselves. 
“If I were younger I would divide it to a certain extent, but right now it’s working well for us as it is,” he said.
Crosby said he is excited to see what will happen to the property, even if he acknowledged the prospect of moving on feels bittersweet.
“It’s been a long, good run,” he said. “But there’s an end for everything.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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