Speed Reads

'the heartbeat of this community'

To keep treasured Vermont general store open, dozens of customers become employees

At Dan & Whit's general store in Norwich, Vermont, it's not unusual to see a doctor working at the register, a psychology professor sweeping and stocking shelves, and a nurse slicing meat in the deli.

When word spread around town that the store's owner, Dan Fraser, didn't have enough workers to keep the place open, his loyal customers didn't want to see him shut his doors, and started turning in applications. Almost 24 people stepped up to help, and one of those new employees, Dianne Miller, told CBS News she knows why so many didn't hesitate to submit their resumes. "Dan & Whit's is the heartbeat of this community," she said.

Dan & Whit's has been around for more than 100 years, and Fraser's grandfather and father ran the store before him. While some of his new workers are retired, many are pulling double duty, taking on shifts after spending all day teaching or meeting with patients. They are getting paid, but almost all are donating the funds to Fraser's favorite charities.

Fraser is in awe of the generosity of his new workers, telling CBS News that "sometimes it takes sort of a crisis, if you will, to appreciate what you have."