If you are travelling through one of the major towns in either southwest New Hampshire or southeast Vermont, chances are you will see an Achille Agway. George Achille opened the first store in 1965 in Peterborough, New Hampshire. At the time, George was working for the corporate Agway offices as a truck driver. George recognized an opportunity to work with a trusted brand name that helped set up dealers/distributors with a farm supply business, and decided to open Achille Agway.
The first Achille Agway store was 3,000 square feet and sold primarily farm supplies to local customers. Today, there are six Achille Agway stores with their largest and most modern store in Brattleboro, Vermont. Achille Agway is now focused on lawn & garden (trees, shrubs, flowers & hard goods), pets, wild birds, equine and home & garden (furniture).
The Agway brand helps with certain product recognition, having nationally branded products as well as private label products. They especially help by keeping pricing competitive with their purchasing power for 460 dealers/distributors in the Northeast.
Achille Agway grew quite a bit in the 1980’s when they opened their second store in Keene, and their third store in Hillsborough. As demographics changed in certain areas, Achille Agway knew that they had to change to be more service oriented, leading to the rebuilding of the Keene store in 2001. A brand new 12,000 sq. ft. store was constructed with Rimol Greenhouses featuring a 72’ wide x 48’ long Matterhorn greenhouse. This greenhouse is an open structure with opal polycarbonate on the roof only. The open sides allows traffic to flow in and out of the covered shopping area and creates flexibility for displays to change with the seasons. In the spring, the greenhouse is full with annuals and perennials; in the fall, you will see pumpkins and mums; and in December, the greenhouse contains trees and wreaths. The Keene store also constructed a shade structure next the greenhouse to protect their shrubs from the hot summer sun.
Achille Agway’s latest project was spearheaded by George Achille, Jr. A brand new 15,000 sq. ft. store was constructed in Brattleboro in 2008 with a 60 x 48 Matterhorn greenhouse. This Matterhorn is slightly different than the Keene store having one of the 30’ sections completely enclosed with glass walls. This allows the thousands of cars that pass by their location every day to see into the greenhouse and have quick glance at what is currently in season. The other 30’ wide section, like Keene, has just a roof with open sides, allowing for flexibility in merchandising in a covered yet open shopping environment.
In 2003, George Achille Sr. passed on. However, today George Achille, Jr., his son Rocky, his sister Judy and several other family members are carrying on the original vision of having Agway locations that are very service and customer oriented.
Achille Agway values all of their managers and employees and will continue to rebuild stores to stay competitive with the constant changing retail environments.