Someone checking out at the Market. Courtesy of The Bethel Journals

BETHEL — Homemade sausage, home-cured hams, and bacon were some of the signature items patrons could find at the old Bryant’s Market. The nearly nine-decade family run business spent the bulk of its time on Main Street in Bethel.

Chauncey Bryant, born in Woodstock in 1852, was responsible for getting the business going. He purchased property on the Middle Intervale Road in 1876, with plans to start a slaughter house.

Within a year of buying the farm, Bryant had completely remodeled the place. He also had “equipped” his slaughter house with the “latest improved trolley system, enabling him to dress slaughtered stock in advantage,” according to the Bethel Journals. His slaughter quickly became one of the best in the county.

Bryant was  involved with wholesale trade in beef, pork, mutton, poultry and game. In 1899 he acquired a license to buy and sell deer meat also.

A meat dealer was only a small part of his extensive involvement in the area. Bryant also belonged to the Masonic Lodge, Mount Abram Lodge and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.).

His meat business eventually moved to Main Street, where it served the town as a grocer and market. In 1902, Chauncey’s son, William Bryant, bought the store and continued on his father’s successful path.

“In 1904, a new two-and-one-half story building was put up on the site of the smaller original store which had been moved to the building neighboring it,” according to the Bethel Journals. There was an apartment on the second floor of the new building.

The revamped store used all “modern methods of refrigeration and appliances.”

In 1929, in an effort to stay true to their local roots, William joined together with the Independent Grocers’ Alliance (IGA) of America, which had been founded three years earlier.

By this point, William’s son, Myron Bryant, was involved with the family business too. Myron incorporated sporting goods, such as guns and ammo, as part of the store. And, like William and Chauncey, Myron specialized in meat cutting.

After World War II, Myron “changed the store’s operation from the traditional clerk-assisted way to self-service. The market was now the only Main Street grocery store to have this service. Other stores in the area at the time were the Red and White, the A & P,  and First National, which were all located on Main Street, and Kellogg’s General Store, located on Railroad Street.

Other changes made were a new entrance to the store and “check out aisles with cash registers for each station.”

At this time Myron was in his mid-40’s, and with his children, Carolyn and Richard (Dick) having just graduated from Gould, they, too, became part of the family operation. Dick worked full time and Carolyn part-time. Dick eventually took over as manager from Myron.

In 1963, Harvey’s Restaurant (located across from Brooks Hardware Store) was leveled by a fire. Doris Bryant, now widowed, (Myron died in 1961) bought the property where Harvey’s had stood. A new building, consisting largely of brick, was built. On June 25, 1964, the Bethel Citizen reported that Bryant’s Market had opened up at the new location (where the current IGA stands), leaving its former spot of more than 60 years. The building where Bryant’s had stood was torn down shortly after.

The Bryant family cut ties with the business in 1968, after Dick ended his partnership with the IGA. The store has since been owned by the Glidden family and Pat and Carl Glidden have owned the store themselves since 1978. “The owners are associated with Hannaford Bros. for much of the store’s produce,” according to The Bethel Journals.









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