The Essential Vermont Country Store

Like many an aging celebrity, Weston, VT-based Vermont Country Store is pursuing youth. The venerable family-owned business, which began in 1946, in March test-mailed Essential Goods, a spin-off targeting younger baby boomers.

Given that the youngest of the baby boom are now pushing 40, Vermont Country Store is hardly straying from the 50-year-old-plus core customer it targets with its flagship general merchandise book, Voice of the Mountains, and its Goods & Wares spin-off, which was launched in April 1999 to target younger buyers as well. According to data cards from Princeton, NJ-based list firm American List Counsel, Goods & Wares has 292,100 12-month buyers; Voice of the Mountains has more than 551,000 12-month buyers.

About 50% of the merchandise featured in Essential Goods also appears in Voice of the Mountains, which sells everything from apparel and bath products to food and cleaning supplies. The most distinctive feature of the new catalog is probably its flashier creative. The four-color Essential Goods uses photography and a more contemporary style of copy than Vermont Country Store’s other titles. The black-and-white Voice of the Mountains is generally printed on newsprint, though Goods & Wares uses color photographs on a heavier paper stock.

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