Skip to content

Young Dorothy’s village store

Hi. I’m Dorothy.Dorothy Carpenter

These are my parents, Alice and Bob.Alice Bustead Carpenter and Robert Carpenter

We live at 1 Dearborn Road, behind Town Hall and the fire station.1 Dearborn Road, Burlington MA

Dad has a little store on the other side of the common. It’s called Village Grocery. This is the first day, when it opened. Boy was he happy!Bob Carpenter behind the counter at grand opening, Burlington MA

Dad bought the store from William Bustead. Here’s William having soda at the front door. This is the old store. It fell apart after Dad bought it. Some of the roof fell on someone’s head. So Dad built a new store on the same spot.William Bustead outside the original store.

My brothers and sisters and I run the store when Dad is out. We’re just kids, but we can do everything. The store sells sandwiches, so we have to use meat cutters to cut the meat, just like adults do. We don’t get hurt. And we can figure out the change for the customers at the cash register. I think I’m counting it right, because people aren’t complaining or anything. Here’s my brother Bob. He can see over the counter, just a little.Bob Carpenter Jr.

Dad runs the school buses for the town. My brothers and sisters try to get him to cancel school whenever it snows. He talks to the superintendent, so he has some power. Here’s a snow day! I’m a little older now, and I’m standing in front of the store.Dorothy Carpenter and cat

Here’s me in front of the store with my friend Mitzi Galipeau. We’re supposed to be shoveling. Oh well.Frances Galipeau (l) and Dorothy Carpenter, allegedly shoveling

The store is kind of a hangout for kids. Everyone respects it. One Sunday, when the store was closed, a kid found the front door open a little. He went into the store and used his one nickel to call my Dad and tell him about the door. My Dad thanked him and explained how to lock the door on the way out.

But things are changing. A bigger store just came to town, not far from us. It’s a supermarket! Will anyone go to Village Grocery anymore?Original IGA supermarket (later the Rexall plaza, now demolished) Burlington MA c. 1955

And now it’s going to get even bigger!IGA Foodliner coming soon sign Burlington 1956

Maybe it’s time to close Village Grocery for good. Yes, it’s probably time to say goodbye. Dad is locking up for the last time. It seems like just a few years ago when he built this nice new store.Carpenter's store, last day, Burlington MA

It would be nice to see young people come to this store even after we’re gone. Maybe high school kids will still have a reason to come here. We’ll see . . .

Amari Prom Outlet Burlington MA
Amari Prom & Bridal, 138 Cambridge St., near A.J. Rose Carpets & Flooring



— By Dorothy (Carpenter) McLeod, 85, of Woburn. Her family ran Village Grocery, at the same location as Amari Prom & Bridal, from 1947 to 1961.



This 1966 Dodge Coronet originally belonged to Barbara Carpenter, Dorothy’s sister. Then it went to another sister, Marian Carpenter, a longtime clerk at the town’s Building Department. Now it belongs to Scott Carpenter, pictured at the Burlington Cops N’ Cars event June 8, 2019.  Remember the little boy peeking over the counter in the article? This is his son.

Scott CarpenterDB2C222F-31BA-4CC9-B887-8539766F237F

14 thoughts on “Young Dorothy’s village store Leave a comment

  1. I never hear it called the Village Grocery Store it was just Carpenters. I remember the school buses. They always had CARPENTER on the side of them and I thought that they painted the name for the person who ran the school buses. It wasn’t until I moved to Indiana (in 1970) that I realized that that was the name of the company that built the buses. The factory was beside the highway and there were always loads of buses in the lot with CARPENTER painted on the side.

  2. Loved this, knew your parents well, your mom introduced me to my husband at a camping weekend with Kenny too. They were terrific people. Thanks for the memories.

  3. I remember this well. I lived behind there on Forbes ave. used to cut through the brush and small field. Used to walk with the girl that lived in that small house don’t know what ever became of her. 1958 or 1957.

  4. Great story! Love hearing about things from the past that I don’t recall. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I didn’t know the store at all. I did grow up visiting my grandparents house on Dearborn rd.

  6. I spent a lot of pennies at “Carpenters” store great memories thanks for sharing.

  7. thanks for the memories…………..always a nice group of people………….went to school with bobby carpenter, what ever happened to him………..carl johnson,, bhs,1954

    • Bobby, my Dad, built a house next to his parents on Dearborn Rd and lived his life there. Unfortunately he passed away in July of 2015.
      He loved Burlington and knew a lot of history…..he worked for Hood Milk and then the MBTA…..retired from there.

  8. I have a copy of the grandfather photo, mine is labeled Grandfather Bustead, our mothers grandfather it looks like it was taken at 14 or 16 Wilmington Rd unpaved Wilmington Rd and Reed’s Hamworks in the background. Mom always said he carried mints in the sweater pocket when she was a little girl, mom loved them even though they were always covered with lint.

  9. More & Parker used to deliver the papers to Carpenter’s store including mine for my paper route on the front steps.

  10. Well I sure remember Carpenter’s store – it was like a second home to my family and I !…As a little girl, I would go with my Dad every evening to get his newspaper. I was shy and would hide behind my Dad but Mr or Mrs Carpenter would always have something sweet to get me to smile. My brothers grew up with Marion, Barbara and Dorothy pretty much. It was just a favorite place to be with friends…always stopping by on our way home from school or on summer days to get our bag full of penny candy…I can still picture the penny candy case, the counter to get a bite to eat, or the main counter where Bob Carpenter always stood behind. I last bumped into Bobby in 2014 – we knew each other immediately.

Leave a Reply