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NGPF Podcast

Mar 23, 2018

In a little village of just about 5,400 full-time residents, the Community Store in Saranac Lake is one unique endeavor. I stumbled upon the store during a recent vacation in the Adirondacks (a 6 million acre park in upstate New York). What makes this department store one-of-a-kind? Well, to start, it was backed by over 750 mostly local shareholders, who also doubled as volunteers when it came to renovating the building. The store was co-founded by Melinda Little, who spearheaded the effort to create this social enterprise. In a nation that’s been captivated by Amazon’s rise to fame, this
"brick and mortar" department store demonstrates that there is still a place for scrappy local retailers. 


  • 0:00–1:24 Introduction
  • 1:25–5:23 Out with the old, in with the community store
  • 5:24–7:37 A divisive time for the little village of Saranac Lake
  • 7:38–11:12 The trifecta: Brains, brawn, business plan
  • 11:13–13:58 Method to success: accessible and affordable stocks
  • 13:59–14:27 A word from NGPF
  • 14:28–18:16 Road to the finish line: share parties & festival floats with hanging underwear
  • 18:17–20:42 Less about the money and more about the social enterprise element
  • 20:43–22:02 Living rurally has its pros and cons
  • 22:03–25:47 Shareholders doubled as volunteers to renovate the building 
  • 25:48–29:09 Learning as they grow
  • 29:10–33:25 Front page worthy: how the community store ended up in the New York Times
  • 33:26–35:06 Other cities that have tried to pursue this unique endeavor
  • 35:07–37:41 How brick and mortar stores are adapting to modern times
  • 37:42–38:31 Conclusion

Resources mentioned:


  • “You can’t sustain a town on visitors. You need a core group.”
  • “The trick for an effort like this is not only sticking to it… but it’s also staying in front of people.”