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Ch-ch-changes in WRJ, as the Polka Dot sign comes down and the Phnom Penh sign goes up (video)

A man prepares to remove the Polka Dot sign in White River Junction, Vt., on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018. (Maggie Cassidy photograph)

White River Junction! You’re movin’ so fast!

In May, we told you about plans for Lebanon-based Phnom Penh Sandwich Station to open a second location in White River Junction at the former Polka Dot Restaurant site.

This afternoon, those plans became more visible as one sign came down and the other went up.

Check out video from our Facebook page below.

But what will happen to the Polka Dot sign?

In an email Monday morning, property manager Tim Sidore said that the Polka Dot sign will be displayed inside the new Phnom Penh. And he said that “things are shaping up inside!” (No word on a target date for Phnom Penh opening.)

Building owner Mike Davidson noted that that’s the same setup as the old Gulf sign displayed inside Lucky’s Coffee Garage, which was one of his many re-development projects throughout the Upper Valley.

(This section about the fate of the Polka Dot sign was added to this post on Monday morning.)

Customers drink their coffee on Jan. 19, 2018, at Lucky’s Coffee Garage in Lebanon, N.H. Mike Davidson, who renovated the former Gulf gas station, said that the old Gulf sign displayed at the coffee shop is a template for how the old Polka Dot sign will be displayed at the new Phnom Penh restaurant in White River Junction, another project of his. (Valley News – Carly Geraci) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Of course, this scene played out against the backdrop of new construction.

Developer Bill Bittinger recently finished construction on that new building behind the restaurant, and it includes a mix of apartments and first-floor businesses, including JUEL Juice + Smoothies and Little Istanbul, a shop of Turkish wares run by the same folks who run the Tuckerbox Restaurant across the street. I can personally attest that JUEL Juice + Smoothies (which started out as a sweet little food “truck” and is now a full-on “modern apothecary cafe” with coffee, snacks and more) was bustling on Saturday!

So long, Polka Dot sign.

See you on the inside.

The Polka Dot building in White River Junction, Vt., on May 8, 2018, is one of the properties owned by developer Mike Davidson’s Execusuite. (Valley News – Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

More special Polar seltzers spotted in the Upper Valley


Thank you to colleague Matt Clary for dropping these off at the Valley News (!!!). Super glad to have cemented my role as workplace seltzer nut (see: Exhibits A, B, C and D). I’m gonna see how many coworkers I can get to do a fizzeo (… a seltzer review video, OBVIOUSLY). And for my fellow devotees, apparently these are from the Co-op Food Stores (again!).


p.s. If you don’t know, now you know.