Republished from the
NEWPORT — Despite being thrust into the spotlight over the last few days and having to end his franchise with UPS, store owner Michael Desautels is optimistic about the future of his business in downtown Newport.
Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan Friday sued Desautels for violating Gov. Phil Scott’s executive order requiring employees to wear masks.
The State alleges that by refusing to follow the mandatory health and safety requirements around employee mask use, the Defendants placed both employees and members of the public at risk due to the spread of COVID-19. In seeking the preliminary injunction, the State is asking the Court to require the Defendants to cease violating the Governor’s COVID-19-related orders, according to a statement issued Friday.
The store also posted a sign telling customers employees would not be wearing masks. UPS severed connections with the store last week.
Desautels says that moving forward, Derby-Port Press, a print company he purchased in 2018, will continue to operate from the same location on Main Street.
As of Friday, the store was open and welcoming customers inside.
Derby-Port Press will focus on the printing aspect of the business, which Desautels says is not all that different from the way things were before he came under fire for choosing not to wear a mask inside his store.
“A lot of people don’t realize all the printing that we do here, so now we will just be focusing more on that,” Desautels said.
The store has always been heavy on the printing side of the business, providing a full range of print services such as banners, flyers, posters, t-shirts, as well as vehicle graphics.
Derby-Port Press will also still have a full-time graphic designer in-store who can help customers get logos and other designs formatted and printed.
“We look forward to providing more of these printing services for local businesses, sports teams, we can do it all,” Desautels added.
With most of the news recently focusing on the UPS franchise being pulled, Desautels admits that the change will be inconvenient to the community, but in reality, only a few of the store’s overall services will change.
The most noticeable change will be the Amazon dropoff point, which allows Amazon customers to send their merchandise back to the online retailer from certain locations.
Derby-Port Press will also no longer be able to function as a Comcast and AT&T dropoff point, as those were contracts secured through UPS.
This is not the first setback the store has faced since the pandemic began.
“When the border closed, we lost a lot of mailbox customers,” Desautels said.
Before the pandemic, many Canadians had set up mailboxes at the store for shipping purposes and drove down to pick them up in Newport.
The Canadian customers the store brought into the area would often continue to shop or eat downtown.
The one other change Desautels noted was that they will be closing one hour earlier.
Store hours will move to Monday through Friday from 8-5, and Saturday from 8-Noon.
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