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Letter to the editor: Pool World at risk of closing its Middlebury doors

I work at Pool World and will have worked for our owner and founder Tom Booska for 47 years this May 10. Presently I manage the Middlebury location with Nick Tonzola, who has worked with me since our moving there in 1995. Two years ago we added another full-time employee, Rinda Stokes. Each season we also hire seasonal employees.
Business with our customers has been great and their support through the recession allowed us to continue service at this location. We continually are at battle to stay in business providing the fun products and services that make family dreams into reality.
Today we are faced with a challenge that we may not survive in the Middlebury market. On April 1 we received a termination letter from our landlord demanding that we vacate the premises by May 1 so that our building can be torn down to make a larger parking lot to service the former Greg’s market before it can open for business.
I find it rather ironic that in this age of making Green including the recent Middlebury March on Montpelier and then a grant-funded study to see about bringing business to downtown Middlebury that this should continue forward at this time. Why tear down and remove from the property tax rolls a building and business that brings people from the region to shop with us and spend time in other area stores and restaurants contributing to the local tax. I can’t give any figures to this other than we service and sell supplies to some 900-plus pool and spa customers who we see as family, friends and neighbors.
If Pool World is forced to vacate its present facility in Middlebury now, it will incur great financial hardship and will force its customer base to search out other sources of supplies and service. To not have a presence in Middlebury for a season would make no economic sense for Pool World to return in the future. We are on the verge of starting our season. Nick, Rinda and I are just “worker bees” in this picture and will show up and do our job wherever asked. We love what we do and would hope we could continue to do so here.
Certainly a budding new store is not going to need more parking than the well-established customer draw of Greg’s Market for at least a year. If the only way to satisfy the parking needs of the new market is to tear down the present Pool World store, at least postpone its removal for near one year allowing the renovation of another location in Middlebury to house Pool World and its continued customer draw to Middlebury. The existing parking lot was the lot when Greg’s was full tilt and while at times crowded it was dynamic in that all the businesses here made it work.
Please voice your concerns to people that can change this course.
To Quote Joni Mitchell & The Big Yellow Taxi:
“Don’t it always seem to go,
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s Gone
They Paved Paradise
And Put up a parking lot.”
Randy Colomb
Pool World employee
Waltham resident

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