×

Wendell Country Store celebrates 25 years

  • Patti Scutari, owner of the Wendell Country Store and Donna Horn, Scutari’s first employee 25 years ago, stand behind the cash register in Wendell. STAFF PHOTO/CARSON MCGRATH



Staff Writer
Thursday, August 09, 2018

WENDELL — The Wendell Country Store, with notes hanging outside advertising everything from free chickens to yoga classes, isn’t your average convenience store.

Though you can find products from DVDs, homemade sandwiches from the deli, local maple syrup and craft beer, owner Patti Scutari said the services she offers to the community are nothing short of unique.

“Everybody considers the store to be their home in a way. People get their packages delivered here ... people drop stuff off — it is total, full service beyond anything you could ever get in any other town,” she said.

This year marks Scutari’s 25th anniversary running the small country store just outside the town common. Once she and her late husband heard the spot was for sale 25 years ago, they packed their belongings, put their house on Long Island on the market and headed to Wendell after years of political activism, including running a soup kitchen for 10 years.

“We love this area. We love the people and the store became pretty much a center for activities and community gatherings. We really put our hearts and souls into it,” said Scutari.

When the Scutari family and their four children arrived in town, they lived inside a four-bedroom home attached to the Wendell Country Store for about a year and a half, said Scutari. She spent her first two weeks with the previous owner learning to run the business and has been ever since. And so has her first employee, Donna Horn.

In 1993 when Scutari took over, Horn joined the Wendell Country Store team and has been working the cash register in front and greeting customers for the past 25 years alongside Scutari.

“I love the community and enjoy working here. It is kind of like a campground and this is the, what do you call it, the community center,” said Horn.

T-shirts that hang in the store with Horn’s artwork of Wendell locals in front of the country store with its slogan, “We’re all here, cause we’re not all there,” written underneath makes the place feel like home.

Though the store has changed over the years, with Scutari having employees coming and going, along with removing gas pumps previously in the parking lot, she said her vision has always been to serve the needs of the community. In order to do so all these years, Scutari said, she’s put her experience with community service and community organizing into running the place.

“We wanted everyone in Wendell to feel happy and comfortable coming into the store. We wanted it to be a community store,” she said.

Many local teenagers have had their first jobs at the store, said Scutari, and still visit when they come back to the quirky community.

After noticing residents gathering at the community store throughout the day, Scutari said she wanted to open a place where the 9-to-5ers of the town could congregate as well. That is how 13 years ago the Deja Brew Café & Pub, right next to the country store, was born. Scutari said it was a big evolution for the little store and took lots of work to convert the space into what it is today.

“We wanted to make a community pub, a place where people could get to know their neighbors,” she said.

The pub is open Saturday nights and features different musical acts. 

During her time running the country store Scutari said she’s met just about everyone in town and enjoys the sense of community.

“(The store) enables people to find people and connect with others that are liked-minded – we work together for the common good of the community,” she said.

To celebrate all of the Wendell Country Store’s accomplishments over the past 25 years, Scutari invites the community to the pub Saturday, Aug. 11 at 7:30 p.m. One of the venue’s most popular band over the years, Free Range, musical duo Betsy Scofield and Mark Feller, is set to play, said Scutari. Pizza will be served by the slice all night.


Connect with Us