Deere Dealer Heads for Hartland
White River Junction — After 24 years at 240 S. Main St., downtown fixture L.F. Trottier & Sons is departing White River Junction for Hartland.
On Aug. 1, the company will swap its current 3,800-square-foot shop for an 8,000-square-foot facility on Route 5 in Hartland. It will move into the former CrossRoads Motorsports building, a quarter-mile off Exit 9 on Interstate 91.
Store manager Tom Trottier cites the business’ success as the motivation for the move.
“We’ve outgrown the space quite a lot in the last couple of years,” Trottier said by telephone Friday. “It’s not quite as user friendly as we’d like. … There are a lot of people in the area now, and parking is precious.”
In a serendipitous turn of events, L.F. Trottier & Sons purchased the 1-acre property at 30 U.S. Route 5 for $329,000, Trottier said. The sale closed mid-May.
Trottier said the company hadn’t even been looking to move when it heard through the grapevine that CrossRoads Motorsports had put its building up for sale. The Hartland business, which sold motorcycle and sporting equipment, closed last year and is listed with Vermont state corporations records as terminated.
The company did some research, Trottier said, and determined that the space was more than suitable for its needs. The entire process took about a month.
“Once we decided we wanted to move, it didn’t take long to get the ball rolling,” Trottier said. The recently purchased building is being renovated in anticipation of the company’s arrival.
The new space boasts 3,200 square feet that will serve as a showroom, in addition to a shop, a storage shed and a garage. All but one of the five White River Junction employees likely will move over to the new location, Trottier said, and an additional employee or two likely will be hired.
“We’re absolutely excited,” Trottier said of the Hartland facility. “We’re looking forward to having a nice showroom to put everything on display.”
L.F. Trottier & Sons, which sells John Deere lawn mowers, tractors and other equipment, plans to continue offering the same products at its Hartland site. “It will be more efficient,” Trottier said.
For roughly the last 12 years, the company has leased its building in the heart of the downtown from redeveloper Mike Davidson, who owns numerous White River Junction properties, including the Freight House and Elixir.
Trottier, a South Royalton resident who manages the White River Junction location, also will handle the Hartland site; his brother, Andy, oversees the company’s South Royalton location with their father, Larry, the company’s namesake. The company employs about 18 workers between its two locations, Tom Trottier said.
Necessity aside, there is one potential risk posed by the move.
“Losing customers is a concern,” Trottier said, “but the new place is an honest 9 miles down the interstate. In half the time you spend getting into White River between stoplights and traffic, you’ll be halfway to Hartland.”
Trottier said the company has hung banners on both the Hartland and White River Junction buildings advertising the new location. As the move-in date approaches, he said, the company will send mailings to its customers noting the change of address, and also will run print and radio advertisements.
Hartford Planning and Development Director Lori Hirshfield said she is sad to see the company leave White River Junction.
“They’re a part of our history,” she said of the Trottiers. “They have been a good part of the downtown, a good solid business. We’re sorry they’re leaving, but we certainly do understand why they are.”
Davidson, the building’s landlord, shared Hirshfield’s sentiments, saying he has enjoyed having L.F. Trottier & Sons as a tenant.
“We’ve had a really nice relationship,” he said Friday. “They’re a good, successful old-school business. I hate to lose them.”
As for the current building, it won’t sit empty for long, if at all: After the Trottiers depart for their new facility, the back side of their former building will be converted into an office and shop and an existing tenant, just a few doors down, tentatively is set to move into the space, Davidson said. If all goes well, he said, the shift will allow nearby Big Fatty’s BBQ to expand.
“It’s a win-win,” Davidson said of the company’s move and the potential for surrounding businesses to prosper in its absence. “(L.F. Trottier & Sons have) grown their business. You hate to see them go, but they’re going where you want to see people go. They’re moving up.”
Amanda E. Newman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3215.