Maintaining the brand: co-op’s cow gets a bath

By Laurel Demkovich

@LaurelDemkovich

Published: 07-27-2017 11:28 PM

CUMMINGTON — During the day, she greets customers and watches cars drive by on Route 9. At night, she stands tall on the roof, lit up in bovine glory.

She is Camille, the Old Creamery Cooperative’s fiberglass cow. She has stood atop the Cummington store’s roof for nearly two and a half decades, and Wednesday morning, it was time for some much-deserved pampering: a bath.

“I’m cleaning her up, so she can go to the county fair!” Zachariah Vaughan, CEO of Grace Paint and Tile, joked from the roof.

While Camille won’t actually attend the Cummington Fair Aug. 24-27, she still needed to be spruced up. This was her first bath in about three years. Armed with two buckets of suds, two sponges and one hose, Vaughan and painter Dan Hale climbed to the top of the store’s roof to give Camille her soapy rinse.

“I’ll take the front, and you take the rear,” Vaughan told Hale as he grabbed a hose.

Perched toward the roof’s front edge, Camille collects dirt kicked up by passing cars, especially tractors and trailers in the winter. Her three-year-old paint job looked like a 10-year-old paint job, Vaughan said.

The Old Creamery Cooperative’s building has been standing since 1886 and over the years has housed a restaurant, a grocery store and a general store. It was first the home of the Cummington Cooperative Creamery, a co-op of local dairy farmers that produced about 20,000 pounds of butter each month.

The building became the Old Creamery Co-op in 2012, merging a restaurant and a general store together. Today, customers can purchase everything from bread to meat to ice cream.

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Before taking up her permanent residence on the roof, Camille underwent a transformation. She was first spotted by the co-op’s then-owner Ron Berenson in 1992, in the window of a Northampton antique store. She was a Jersey cow then, painted a light brown color. Berenson bought her, and members of the co-op painted her to look like a Holstein cow, the well-known black-and-white dairy breed.

Camille has only left the roof one time since then, when she took some time off in 2014 to receive a new paint job.

Vaughan has worked with Camille since he helped paint her in 2014. He repainted the entire co-op building two years ago. He came back Wednesday to touch up the paint job, add a stenciled “GROCERY” to the store’s name and give Camille a power wash.

The bath took about 20 minutes, but afterward, Camille looked like a whole new cow. After a final rinse of water, she took a few minutes to air-dry in the summer sun. She stood, sparkly and good as new, atop her longtime home.

“All right, look at that,” Vaughan said, taking a step back. “She’s beautiful.”

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