Wendell Country Store celebrating 30 years of current ownership

Wendell residents Sally Stuffin and Jim Thornley catch up outside the Wendell Country Store in Wendell. The store is celebrating 30 years under its current ownership.

Wendell residents Sally Stuffin and Jim Thornley catch up outside the Wendell Country Store in Wendell. The store is celebrating 30 years under its current ownership. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The Wendell Country Store sells everything from alcohol to prepared meals to locally produced crafts.

The Wendell Country Store sells everything from alcohol to prepared meals to locally produced crafts. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Wendell Country Store manager Audrey White talks with customer Kaymarion Raymond, of Wendell, at the store, which is celebrating 30 years under its current ownership.

Wendell Country Store manager Audrey White talks with customer Kaymarion Raymond, of Wendell, at the store, which is celebrating 30 years under its current ownership. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The Wendell Country Store is celebrating 30 years under Patti Scutari’s ownership.

The Wendell Country Store is celebrating 30 years under Patti Scutari’s ownership. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 09-21-2023 11:14 AM

WENDELL — The Wendell Country Store will celebrate 30 years of its current ownership with a free event.

Patti Scutari purchased the business with her late husband, Vic, in 1993, and she has decided to host a party on Saturday with music and food to thank the community for three decades of support.

“It’s been a wild ride at times. It’s been a long, strange trip,” she said. “Wendell is such a diverse interesting place. It’s been wonderful. I would do it again.”

The festivities are scheduled to begin at 4:15 p.m., with a performance by The Wendell Warriors drumming group on the stage behind Deja Brew, the cafe and pub Scutari owns that is connected to the store at 57 Lockes Village Road. Eric Love is set to take the stage at 5 p.m. to play songs from the 1960s and ’70s, and the band 2 Car Garage will perform from 7 to 11 p.m.

Scutari said there will be a bonfire once it gets dark, and artists and artisans will be on hand selling their goods.

She mentioned the actual anniversary is June 17, but she decided to wait until the fall to host a gathering due to more moderate temperatures and there being fewer bugs.

Patti and Vic Scutari, avid political activists, fell in love with western Massachusetts in 1992 when they participated in a 1½-year vigil in Colrain in support of Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner, whose home was seized by the IRS due to war tax resistance.

The Scutaris moved to Wendell in 1993. They bought the Wendell Country Store from Cheryl Perkins, and took on all of her employees. The family lived in the attached apartment for a year before renting it to the family of young Audrey White, who now works as the store’s manager.

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The first two employees the Scutaris hired were Donna Horn and Joy Gorzocoski, both of whom still work there 30 years later. Horn, a longtime artist, has her work on display in the business in the form of prints, cards and magnets.

“My store is like a Donna Horn gallery,” Scutari joked.

Horn recalled that Scutari hired her on the spot when she walked into the store the day she found it.

“You get to know everyone in the community. It’s like a big family,” Horn said. “It’s a way to get to know everybody and stay connected to what’s going on.”

Horn described the store as a special place.

“It certainly hasn’t been boring,” she said.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.