In 1971, Woodbury was a nexus of innovation on the edge of wilderness. The town’s proximity to the natural world coupled with the area’s rich agricultural valleys, once utilized by the First Nations and then by early American settlers, resulted in a certain sensibility. Interstate 84 was diverting traffic and economic opportunities away from Woodbury, instead laying the foundations of an antiques industry.
Many of the charming colonial buildings in town had gone vacant, drawing people with a penchant for the bucolic on a budget: namely artists and other creatives seeking alternative lifestyles. Among them, a charter of twenty people rented a storefront on Rt. 47 in Hotchkissville—lining up birch barrels of nuts and dried fruit in the front and using the back as ad hoc sleeping quarters. Enter the New Morning Trading Company.
One of their early shoppers was John Pittari, a college student reckoning with an undesirable future at General Electric. New Morning became his beacon. John shopped there at least once a week, and again on weekends. It was about more than food, it was a lifestyle. Through natural food he could have a positive impact on the world—he just knew it. John left his lucrative job at GE for a coveted part-time position at the store. His “education” in natural foods commenced: within a year he was running the store; after five years he purchased it.
New Morning’s offerings expanded. Through collaborating with a growing network of independent retailers across New England, John helped carve out distribution channels where none existed. He traveled to New York City and to trade shows, he met importers and coffee roasters, and vetted every acquisition against his own guiding light. New Morning added a French stone mill for grinding fresh flour. We offered maple syrup, honey, cream-line yogurt, butter, and eggs—all from local farms. Whatever limited packaged groceries were available, from crackers to nut butters, lined our shelves. After being open for eleven years, the Hotchkissville storefront was at capacity.
We’ve since outgrown another two locations in Woodbury: a 600-square-foot store at the Hollow and a space twice that size in the Middle Quarter. At the Hollow, John built all the shelves from locally milled wood and a friend custom-built gravity-fed bulk bins. John rewired the electric and installed proper refrigeration.
The transformation required a new name: New Morning Country Store. New products followed. We expanded into artisan-made housewares and gifts—candles, wooden bowls, enamelware, and cards. The spacious storefront at the Middle Quarter made way for wholesome ready-to-eat foods prepared on-site and healthy alternatives to much-loved convenience foods, from boxed cereal to ice cream.
In 2012, we moved a fourth and final time to our current location on Main Street in Woodbury. Here New Morning Market continues to attract people near and far for the ingredients (food and otherwise) of a healthy lifestyle. As our 47th anniversary draws near, we’re excited to reflect on our newest endeavor: the Goodie Bar concession stand at Hollow Park. With seasonal hours through October, we’re bringing healthy food to happy kids in the Hollow once again.