LaBonne’s Market

Bob LaBonne Jr., works with young people in all three of his stores. Reliable employees are crucial to the success of his business. Only 20% of his employees live in Salisbury and of that 20%, 80% are young and live at home with their families. He states, “The average commute for his staff is 30 minutes with some traveling 45 minutes from as far as Torrington and other distant towns.” 

To attract long-term employees, he needs to offer more full-time positions with more generous benefits than at his other locations. This raises his costs to the point that he does not make a profit when his seasonal business drops off from January through April. 

LaBonne explains, “My employees would love to live in Salisbury if there were more affordable housing options. With three children of my own, I understand well how housing costs impact a person’s quality of life, where they live and what jobs they can pursue. The 2008 recession, along with student loan debt, forces many people to live with extreme economic insecurity. 

“Reasonable rentals would be particularly popular since renting eliminates the necessity for down payments and mortgages. A shorter commute would allow for more free time for family and friends, lower costs for gas, less wear and tear on cars, less stress driving in poor weather, fewer accidents on icy roads and collisions with deer, and access to Salisbury’s excellent schools. It would give me more staffing flexibility if someone calls in sick or is on vacation. Close proximity would also allow for ride sharing, which is an option at my other locations. 

“A healthy downtown population would help my business and make the town center more vibrant.”


Mary Close Oppenheimer is a local artist who has been part of the Lakeville/Salisbury community for 30 years.