MONTPELIER — For 35 years Karl Miller has run Miller Sports on Main Street, but now he’s calling it quits to make room for the expansion of the Three Penny Taproom.
Miller, 54, said the tavern next door is so successful it needs more space.
Had it not been for the Three Penny Taproom’s need to grow, he said, he probably would have kept running his shop, but the tavern is desperate for space.
And just over a month ago Miller became the owner of the building housing both businesses.
As the landlord, he said, “I’m excited for the guys next door.”
But it’s also a little sad for Miller.
He said his kids used to sleep in the store when they were young, and they have a drum set and musical instruments set up in the back for band practice.
It was a truly family business. “It’s sad but exciting,” Miller said of the changes.
He’s stoked to have a new career as a landlord, without the grind of running a store, but he said he will miss the people he meets in Miller Sports, especially the children.
But with Internet businesses and big-box sporting goods stores, it’s not easy for the little local retailer.
There’s not yet a firm deadline on when the store will close, but Miller said he expects it to happen when the Three Penny crew signs the lease in April.
The last day for Miller Sports, he said, will probably be April 12 or 13.
The retail space occupied by Miller Sports used to connect via an arched doorway with Miller News, where the Three Penny Taproom is now.
So this change reconnects the old with the new, Miller said.
The owners of the Three Penny Taproom declined to comment, saying they wanted to wait until the ink is dry on the lease.
Assuming the deal goes through, the Three Penny Taproom will be twice the size it is now and presumably will include a full kitchen for chef Matthew Bilodeau to continue to challenge the palates of Montpelierites.