Most Eastonites know and love the Aspetuck Apple Barn, a renowned local business on Black Rock Turnpike with a storied past. It is a popular stop for produce, flowers, pies, and an array of food gifts and specialty items. The Apple Barn was one of the local businesses that stayed open during the Covid days to keep local folks well supplied.

Now, the community is stepping up to support the business and its owner, Don Simpson, who fell ill last week. Shoppers wondered why the stand was closed until they learned the reason. In response, volunteers rolled up their sleeves.

Volunteers sold pumpkins and plants when Apple Barn’s owner fell ill–Photo Rick Falco

The inside of the store was closed, but a group of local residents watered plants and sold the outdoor inventory.  The group, led by Cathy Dunsby, was able to raise $4,700 selling plants and pumpkins. Some who stopped by left donations.

Dunsby has also created a sign up sheet on Sign-Up Genius for those who can help by sharing their time. Strong people are needed to break down boxes and dispose of unsellable inventory.

Valerie Geffrard, a close friend of Simpson, is working to reopen the store. “Don is in the hospital and will be back soon,” she said. “We are so grateful for the volunteers.”

The store had a soft opening on Wednesday, and will be open on Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They’ve hired back former store employees Alex and Pam and hope to bring back another longtime employee, Geffrard said.

“We have enough merchandise in the store for the season and a whole lot of stuff that has to get out and get sold,” she said.

Residents and friends are encouraged to do a little shopping for a great cause and to pay forward those wonderful pies that fed many through the pandemic. For more information, call Valerie Geffrard at 203-451-8383.

When the sign appeared in the Apple Barn window, volunteers arranged an impromptu sale which netted $4,700–Photo Rick Falco

Photos by Rick Falco

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