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WorkInCT: Three local women revitalize Tolland staple store

Tolland Red and White was not always the quaint country store it is today.

TOLLAND, Conn. — Back in the 1800s, Tolland Red and White was not the quaint country store it is today.

"It is a federally recognized building," said Mary-Pat Soucy, one of the co-owners of Tolland Red and White.

When a visitor first steps inside the door, there is a sense of nostalgia walking in.

"When we opened this store we found in the magazines, a copy of an 1892 receipt of the store, it used to be J P Root," Soucy said.

Throughout the centuries, this shop has gone from being a mercantile shop, a grocery store, a general store, and then, a vacant building.

"It has always been in this community," Soucy said.

Soucy is one of the three women who have lived in Tolland for decades and helped resurrect this local gem.

"Our children all came to the Red and White growing up for the candy, the gift shop, so after it closed ... I kept driving past the store saying, what a shame for the kids," said Sheri Sullivan, another co-owner.

Turns out Sullivan had been thinking about finding a way to bring the store back. So, she decided to meet with a realtor, who then told her that two other women were interested in doing the same thing!

"We had the same vision for the store," said Sullivan. "We wanted the children of Tolland to grow up with what our kids had, and it’s been a great thing ever since."

All three women, all from the same town, all with different stories, but one common love... Tolland.

"It’s amazing that how the three of us could connect with the same vision, and not have known each other before then," said Sullivan.

Tolland Red and White reopened thanks to this group of powerful women who also work other jobs. They pride themselves on their pantry items, penny candies, artisan gifts, and a sense of home, naturally, brought to you by local people.

"That’s part of our tag line is sweets, antiques, and hometown gifts, and those are our artists or our retired community that make things that are just lovely," said Celeste Senechal, the final co-owner. "They use their imagination, and you think, oh my neighbor is making these!

The women say their dream became a reality, not only because of their vision but because of the people in the town of Tolland.

"The community has always asked for it to be open and viable and they have supported us through the pandemic," said Soucy. "They support us, they love this place, and they say to us, we don’t want it to ever end, and, we’re like, that’s our goal too!"

Tolland Red and White is open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information, go here: https://www.tollandredandwhite.com/

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