In 1989, Marty and Catherine Beattie purchased the Danville Garage and a few months later, opened Marty’s 1st Stop. A Danville native, Mr. Beattie had grown up on a nearby farm (his mother still sleeps in the room she was born in) and, like many native New Englanders, pursued simultaneous multiple careers. Working his way up through the ranks at E.T.&H.K. Ide Grain Company of St. Johnsbury, he ended up as primary dispatcher and sales manager. Simultaneously, he participated in modest local real estate development, converting structures into useful spaces for both retail and offices.
“I always felt that Danville needed an anchor store” he states. “I felt very strongly that there should be an easy place to get a sandwich, milk, etc., and also a place where folks form the community could visit with each other in the process.”
Marty’s 1st Stop has expanded several times since it’s inception. The current version was completed in 2008, and features a large interior space, basement with storage area, a feed and hardware department, a new receiving area, and a Union Bank branch.
“With my wife, Catherine, we have five of our own children, but through the store, I actually feel that we have several hundred,” says Marty-as he smiles about one of the most satisfying aspects of the Store’s success. “We employ approximately 15 individuals full-time, and another 20 or so part-time. In the summer season, we swell to about 44 employees, many of them young people who benefit from the responsibility, the discipline of regular work and the camaraderie of our Marty’s family.”
On the supply side, Marty prefers to keep product that locals want. This includes a lot of items, such as coffee, milk, feed for their pets and livestock , maple syrup, baked goods, soy products and local produce including berries and corn.
“We like local, our customers like local. Our deli is very popular, and our extensive meat department is consistently a huge draw.”
Marty’s 1st Stop serves an important social aspect as well. Spend just a few minutes inside and witness customers engaging in lively discussions about local happenings, and of course politics. “It can get pretty exciting at times,” says Marty, “but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
On February 19th, 2009 Marty’s 1st Stop will begin it’s 20th year of business.