Nightly News | April 05, 2011
>>> if you watch us even a few nights a week, you know the world is changing quickly, and some places the violence has been unrelenting. so perhaps it's no wonder that something simple like nostalgia is making a big comeback these days. anything to get us out of today and transport us to another time. nbc's anne thompson tonight looks at one store that's making a lot of americans very happy by taking them back to basics.
>> reporter: tradition marks vermont's landscape. people take pride that life moves a little slower here. trendy is taboo. what's time-tested is treasured. no place more than at the vermont country store . a centuries-old tradition. and the orton family business for 55 years.
>> my grandfather was a wonderful marketer. and he really understood even in 1946 people were yearning for simpler times.
>> reporter: simpler times defined by everyday products bearing brand names from long ago.
>> gee, your hair smells trick.
>> i remember that.
>> reporter: gardner orton is in charge of modern-day wellness with products grandma used to use.
>> i think people are frustrated. they're going to their doctors, they're getting prescribed more and more medications. they're looking for something that perhaps is another route from that.
>> reporter: elliott orton rescues brands from history's trash heap. like tangee lip stirks a depression-era favorite.
>> we went out and bought it and worked with some of the original manufacturers to get the formulation right and bring it back to the market.
>> reporter: so you actually own this now?
>> we actually do.
>> reporter: with cabot the three brothers run today's business.
>> what color would you like in.
>> reporter: there are two call centers for catalog orders.
>> there you go.
>> reporter: and two stores offering comfort consumerism including comfort food sold with the brothers' childhood photos.
>> which picture embarrasses you guys the most?
>> maybe the picture on the top with cabot screaming.
>> reporter: this is no mom and pop operation. these simple products high in sentimental value now generate $100 million in sales each year. some of the most popular items, the distinctive fringe-edged table linens of mountain weavers. finished at a factory down the road.
>> certainly we've seen a nice uptick in business over the last two years, contrary to what the economy's been doing.
>> reporter: the quest for value and nostalgia driving demand as america seize seeks a balance in this modern day and age. anne thompson , nbc news, weston, vermont.