WHERE WE COME FROM
The idea for a restaurant in the Windham Hotel isn’t a new one. The coffee shop had been a fixture in the town for nearly 50 years but the last two decades the space has been empty. After the fiery end of Oona’s Restaurant and the quiet closing of Boccelli’s, the village of Bellows Falls was yelling for a place where one could get dinner and a drink. The Windham Development Group purchased the building from the town in 2005 and started charting a course forward.
Gary, John-Michael, and Kristen all spent time on the Board of Directors at community radio station WOOL. Their complementary experiences with food, hospitality, and promotion led them to join forces and raise the capital needed to get a restaurant going. Over several months in 2011 the three drafted a detailed business plan and sent it to friends in and out of the area. By January 2012 they’d interested sufficient investment to get things moving. The Windham Development Group was very helpful in bringing together people who also shared an interest in seeing the building thrive again. The Preservation Trust of Vermont also stepped up with a grant.
Ordering equipment and configuring the space began in earnest in February of 2012. Popolo opened on Tuesday, May 22, 2012.