Blumenthal Enterprises Empowers Innovators to Transform Concepts Into Successful Ventures

4 minute read As the founder of a Burlington-based consulting company, Blumenthal Enterprises, Will Jeffries’ work and his passion are aligned on the goal of empowering visionary innovators to transform their ideas into successful businesses or impact. Acting primarily as a venture strategy consultant and “catalyst” for launching innovative ideas, Will helps founders and other leaders develop and […]

At Blackback Pub, a Sense of Community is on Tap

2 minute read In the heart of historic Waterbury, Ehren Hill and Cory Swafford took the leap in 2023 to purchase Blackback Pub, a welcoming, well-known gathering place that nurtures a sense of community. This is the place where locals and visitors alike forge friendships, share stories, and celebrate life’s moments. From the outset, the new partners’ goal […]

What’s brewing in downtown Rutland: New Tea & Gift Shop provides a welcoming gathering place

3 minute read Filled with light, warmth, and many cozy cups of tea, Loose Loona Gifts + Tea House embodies the Scandinavian concept of “Hygge,” a calm and comfortable atmosphere to spend time with friends and family. Opened last September, the family-owned shop in downtown Rutland offers a vast and varied selection of hot and cold brewed teas […]

Car Repair, Reimagined: Auto repair specialist brings services right to the customer’s location

2 minute read Living in Vermont typically means driving from here to there, and back again. Which also means that we depend on our vehicles to work when we need them. That’s what prompted auto repair specialist Allen Laberge and his partner Kayla Chabot to take their long-imagined idea and turn it into a business: Pro Mobile Automotive. […]

Art from the Heart: Young entrepreneurs connect artists from around the world to Stowe, Vermont

2 minute read For nearly 35 years, Robert Paul Galleries has been at the heart of Stowe’s thriving community of artists and art lovers alike. So when the original owners retired in May of 2023, young entrepreneurs and longtime residents Jack H. Morris and Alexandra B. Weathers embraced the opportunity to purchase the business, building upon a legacy […]

Bringing Joy to the Wall: Burlington Artist brightens each day with bold and colorful patterns

2 minute read In the midst of a successful corporate design career, Burlington artist Bethany Andrews-Nichols began to imagine her next adventure. With the spark of an idea, she traveled to Jaipur, India in 2017 to learn about the ancient art of block printing. This technicolored journey inspired Bethany to forge ahead with her love of design, pattern, […]

Longtime chef and entrepreneur takes the reins at The Elmore Store

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert The Elmore Store has been the hub of the small rural town of Elmore, Vermont for centuries. The white clapboard building, built in the early 1800s, is where residents stop for a gallon of milk, to pick up their mail, and to catch up with neighbors. But in 2020 this community staple […]

Mother-Son Business Duo Gives New Life to Local Wool

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert When Laura Jacoby moved back to her home state of Vermont as an adult, she was dismayed at the number of farms that had shuttered in recent years. So she began researching ways to support Vermont’s farm economy and soon discovered that local farmers who were raising sheep for milk and meat […]

First-time Entrepreneurs Purchase Bakery in Brandon

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert Matt Lewis doesn’t shy away from new challenges. In fact, he embraces them. “If someone else can do it, I figure I can do it too,” he said. “I do my very best to learn everything I can.” His career includes stints as a carpenter, rock-climbing gym manager, sailing instructor, and most […]

Friendship Turns Into Business Partnership

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert Longtime friends Deb Emerson and Emily Rinkema both had family members living with different forms of dementia and struggled to find meaningful ways to connect with them. After their loved ones passed away, Emily reached out to Deb with an idea to start a business that would help other people in the […]

Vermont Couple Finds Niche in High-End Leather Crafting

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert “We are growing very rapidly,” said Amanda Farrell, who co-owns Bergamot Amor, a Williamstown-based leather goods company, with her partner Peter Shangraw. “We’ve shocked almost everyone, including ourselves.” The company produces made-in-Vermont bags and gear using U.S.-sourced boot leather. Amanda, who grew up in East Montpelier, was laid off from her marketing […]

Fifty Goats and Counting at Danz Ahn Dairy

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert In 2000, Juliana Danyew visited a local goat farm on a field trip with the nursery school where she worked. This visit sparked her interest in developing a dairy business that would enable her to put her 12 acres of land to use while working from home. “These dairy goats were smaller […]

Professional organizer helps her clients improve efficiency in the workplace

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert Ever feel like there are never enough hours in the day? Most of us think the solution is better time management. But Porter Knight, a certified professional organizer based in Bristol, Vermont, says there’s more to it than that. Along with providing tips and tricks to improve efficiency, Knight teaches her clients […]

Longtime Auto Technician Opens Repair Shop in Montpelier

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert When the timing belt blew on his first car, then 16-year-old Dylan Partridge knew he had to learn a few things about auto repair. He fixed the timing belt and started apprenticing at a repair shop near his home in Connecticut. This was the beginning of a lifelong passion for automotive troubleshooting. […]

There’s a New Barber in Town

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert After working with his business advisor for a few weeks, Christopher Blume started to worry about the final bill. But when she told him her hours were federally funded, he said, “That blew my mind. I thought setting up the business was going to be the most difficult part, but Nancy’s help […]

Waitsfield Store Fills Niche for Lifestyle Clothing

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert After raising their family in North Carolina, Steve Kenny and Kirstin Behn decided to move back to Kirstin’s hometown of Waitsfield to be closer to family and enjoy Vermont’s four seasons. Steve, who has been involved in clothing retail for 30 years, envisioned opening his own store. But he first had to […]

A Vermont Pop-Up Restaurant with Argentinian Roots

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert “It has always been a dream of mine to start a business and share my passion for healthy and delicious food,” said Jacqueline de Achaval, co-owner of Paprika Catering, an empanada pop-up based in Waterbury. Achaval grew up in Argentina and attended culinary school there before moving to Colorado, where she spent […]

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION Introducing “Inspiring the Entrepreneurial Spirit,” VtSBDC’s Newest Video, W Collective

< 1 minute read Looking for more? Check out our resources page or reach out to your regional advisor! Recommended Next Read Home | Client Features | Tips & Tools | Announcements | Timely Topics

College Student Grows a Unique Business in Vermont

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert Peter Miller started his first business when he was eight years old. He made duct tape wallets and sold them at school and craft fairs. In high school, he ran a clothing company that sold shirts, hoodies, and stickers. And in college, after discovering a passion for woodworking, Miller and a friend […]

“Beloved childhood toy inspires retiree to launch business”

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert When Steve Singiser was a child on Long Island, his grandmother gave him a teddy bear that she made on her antique Singer sewing machine. The bear was soft, flat, and very huggable. He named him Flatty. Over the years, Flatty traveled with Singiser wherever he went, eventually making his way to […]

‘Hard-to-Fit’ Family Dog Inspires Burlington Entrepreneur

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert Debbie Safran of Burlington was having trouble finding accessories and apparel that would fit her greyhound’s long, lean shape. For nearly a decade she batted around the idea of opening her own store, where she and other pet lovers could find everything for their dogs and cats—even those with unique physiques—under one […]

Pattern Inspires Mother-Daughter Entrepreneurs

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert Mother-daughter business duo, Sophia Manzi and Gail Borden, are both artists. Sophia is a painter and Gail is a quilter. Their company, Vivace Vermont, is the intersection of these two disciplines. They produce clothing and home accessories using colorful, one-of-a-kind fabrics.  The plan was hatched on a 2019 trip to New York […]

Rutland entrepreneur opens early learning center

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert This fall the Rutland area has a new child-care center, thanks to the vision and determination of business owner Lacy Hall. Previously, Hall operated a registered daycare program out of her home. She loves her work and is passionate about the importance of early childhood education. But as an at-home provider, she […]

From Books to Bakeware: First-Time Business Owner Purchases Kitchen Store

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert “I had been wanting a place for a long time,” said Chris McDonald, who recently purchased Capital Kitchen, a small kitchen supply store in downtown Montpelier. “I’m in my early 50s, and I felt like this was my last opportunity to do something on my own.”  McDonald had been eyeing Capital Kitchen […]

Springfield couple embarks on second career as store owners

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert With retirement quickly approaching, John and Joey Claflin envisioned a second career that would give them the financial freedom to travel and spend time with family. Both John and Joey are deeply rooted in Springfield, Vt., and liked the idea of owning a community-centered business. So when Morse’s Market, a grocery store […]

Persistence Pays Off for Rutland Discount Retailer

2 minute read It’s been a busy two years for Dennis Piper. He lost his job due to the pandemic, decided to open his own business, and attempted to lease three different locations in the Rutland area before he finally found a landlord who would follow through on a lease. He then set to work renovating the space […]

Culinary Duo Opens New Bakery in St. Johnsbury

2 minute read When the restaurant where Darrell (DJ) McLaughlin worked shut down at the start of the pandemic, he and his wife Katey began thinking more seriously about starting their own business. The couple had recently relocated to St. Johnsbury from Washington State to be closer to DJ’s family. They looked forward to the creative freedom and […]

Vermont businesswoman turns setbacks into opportunities

2 minute read Maria Vance loved factory work. But after 17 years at a factory in St. Johnsbury, Vt., she developed hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a lung condition caused by breathing in foreign substances. As a result, she was forced to leave her job. “At 35 years old, I had to start over,” she said. “So I decided to start […]

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION Introducing “Inspiring the Entrepreneurial Spirit,” VtSBDC’s Newest Video, first in a series

< 1 minute read Looking for more? Check out our resources page or reach out to your regional advisor! Recommended Next Read Home | Client Features | Tips & Tools | Announcements | Timely Topics

A New Approach to Marketing and Selling Vermont Farm Products

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert Hop on the Republic of Vermont website for a glimpse at what Ethan West, co-owner of the Goshen-based maple syrup and honey farm with his wife Annina, calls “New Vermont.” Instead of red barns and rolling hills, you’ll find clean, bold typography; little text; and large, eye-catching images. “We wanted to plant […]

Roofing Company Works to Improve Employee Retention

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert “It’s tough to get people to stay and see their work as a long-term profession,” said Ben Danowitz of Kestrel Contracting, a standing seam and copper roofing company based in Richmond, Vermont. “That’s been the loose end for a lot of trades, especially for a skilled trade like roofing.” But Danowitz and […]

Career advisor supports Vermont students, even if they can’t pay

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert Two students enter their junior year in high school with similar capabilities. One graduates two years later and heads off to college. The other doesn’t receive her high school diploma. This is a scenario that teachers and school administrators see played out time and time again, and one that Deborah Singiser of […]

UVM Graduate Sets Up Consulting Business in Burlington

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert Jason Nachamie moved to Vermont from New York in the fall of 2020 to attend the University of Vermont’s Sustainable Innovation MBA (SI-MBA) program. As he reached the end of the program last spring, he knew he wanted to launch his career in Vermont. But after a brief job search, he became […]

Frustrated Runner Develops Stroller Accessory for Hands-Free Running

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert “It all began about 13 years ago, the first time I tried running with a jogging stroller and hated it,” said Heather Hayes, founder and CEO of StrollRunner, LLC. She quickly abandoned the idea. But over the years, when she would see other parents awkwardly trying to jog with their strollers, she […]

Retired Educator Launches Second Career as Innkeeper

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert Rita Wood likes to stay busy. That’s why she knew retirement wouldn’t include much downtime. “When the pandemic hit and my time for retirement as a speech/language pathologist was approaching, I thought about the future,” she said. “Being someone who can’t do nothing for very long, I mentioned to my husband Corey […]

Women-Owned Collective Boutique Opens in Bennington

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert “As women business owners we felt that we needed to create a space where other women makers, artisans, and entrepreneurs could come together and be empowered,” said Sarah Krinsky, co-owner of W. Collective in Bennington, Vermont. She and co-owner Bri Magnifico opened their store and café on Bennington’s Main Street in July. […]

Small Local Manufacturing Company Makes Strides During Pandemic

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert In 2020, after five years in business, the owners of Vermont Evaporator Company made a dramatic change to their business model. They moved to 100 percent online sales. Spurred by the pandemic, the new sales approach is “much more efficient than running the fair circuit from May through December to drive revenue,” […]

Newport professor makes mid-life career change

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert  Jody Frey hadn’t anticipated a career in law. In her 30s, she was teaching adjunct courses at Sterling College to supplement her income as a dairy farmer when she became inspired to pursue a master’s degree in place-based arts. After earning her degree, she spent eight years teaching college-level environmental humanities—a subject […]

Landscape Architect Designs His Own Business

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert  When Jay Miller decided to start his own business, he didn’t write a business plan. Instead, he developed a Business Model Canvas, a tool that helps entrepreneurs visualize their business strategy. For Miller, a landscape architect, the one-page document resembles a landscape plan he might put together for a client. But instead […]

A Coffee- (and Food) Loving Couple Fills a Business Niche in Hardwick

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert  Great start-up ideas begin with a problem that needs solving. A few years ago, Tobin Porter-Brown and Annie Myers were looking for a place in Hardwick to do some computer work. When they couldn’t find a coffee shop, they ended up working in the front seat of their car. And that’s when […]

Chocolatier Takes Unexpected Path to Entrepreneurship

3 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert  When Dawn Wagner took a job at Lake Champlain Chocolates as a student at the University of Vermont, she had no intention of becoming a chocolatier. Her focus, at the time, was theater. After graduation, Wagner moved to New York City, where she worked as a stage manager for on- and off-Broadway […]

New bookstore owners plan for post-pandemic future

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert  About six months into the pandemic, Katya d’Angelo and Chris Triolo purchased a brick-and-mortar business right around the corner from where they live in downtown Waterbury, Vermont. The two are known around town for their ice-cream tricycle, The Udder Guys—a side business to their day jobs in marketing and computer programming. But […]

Longtime Customer Becomes New Café Owner

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert  For years, Nadia Dole had stopped at Vergennes Laundry on her way to visit family in Montreal. She loved the simplicity of the French-style café and bakery on Main Street in Vergennes, and even considered purchasing the business when it went up for sale in 2017 by then-owners Julianne and Didier Murat. […]

Burlington restaurant owners open second location in Brooklyn

2 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert In 2013 Trevor Sullivan was looking for free business advice from someone with experience and enthusiasm to help. At the time, he was trying to open his first business—a vegan restaurant in downtown Burlington, and needed assistance organizing his financials for a loan application. Sullivan reached out to the Vermont Small Business […]

Covid-19 Opens Up Opportunities for Independent Bottler

3 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert “Despite Covid-19, we were struck by the support we’ve received,” said Adam Polonski, co-owner of Lost Lantern Spirits, a Vermont-based independent bottler of American whiskey. “From our bank to VtSBDC, it’s evident how supportive Vermont is towards young entrepreneurs.” Polonski and his partner Nora Ganley-Roper recently relocated to Weybridge, Vermont from New […]

Bennington brewer answers call for hyper-local beer

3 minute read By Amanda Kuhnert In the spring of 2021, Seth Barrows plans to retire from the military after 27 years of service. More than likely, he’ll celebrate his retirement with a pint of his own beer and then get back to work. Barrows’s second career as a brewmaster and entrepreneur has already begun. His new business, […]

DaVallia Gallery & Boutique

3 minute read Chester boutique consolidates and expands during Covid-19 crisis By Amanda Kuhnert “Covid-19 made us re-evaluate what was important to us and what we really wanted to be doing,” said Jessie Alon, co-owner of DaVallia Gallery & Boutique in Chester, Vt. Before the pandemic, Jessie and her husband Michael were operating two business locations—an art gallery […]

Farmers’ Market provides opportunity for Vermont Peanut Brittle amid pandemic

3 minute read When Ed and Lea Arnold first started making peanut brittle as a unique holiday gift for a friend, they had no inkling that their love of cooking blended with a handcrafted recipe would become the ingredients for a future business, Vermont Peanut Brittle. As making peanut brittle became an annual event, their list of recipients […]

Michelle Wiegers Coaching

2 minute read Pandemic Helps Life Coach Narrow Her Business Focus By Amanda Kuhnert This summer Michelle Wiegers, a life coach based in Bennington, Vt., offered 30 hours of free coaching to 20 people suffering with chronic pain. “When COVID hit, I really wanted to reach people that are in pain because I know increased stress increases body […]

Nu Chocolat

3 minute read Burlington chocolate shop moves its business online By Amanda Kuhnert On March 15th, the day before Governor Scott ordered the closure of all restaurants due to the evolving Covid-19 crisis, the Toohey family temporarily closed their chocolate shop and café on Burlington’s Battery Street to customers. The following day, instead of filling retail cases with […]

The Flower Basket

3 minute read A Vermont Florist Spreads Sunshine during the Covid-19 Crisis By Amanda Kuhnert “This has been an incredibly trying time to be a small business owner,” said Nora DeMuth, owner of the Flower Basket in Hardwick, Vt. “I can’t remember ever needing to think through major decisions so many times and within such a short period […]

Tavernier Chocolates

2 minute read Chocolatiers Pivot from Retail to Mail Order during Covid-19 Crisis By Amanda Kuhnert Less than three months ago, Dar and John Tavernier of Tavernier Chocolates, based in Brattleboro, Vt, relied on in-store sales for the bulk of their revenue. You could find their gourmet chocolates in shops and markets throughout the Northeast. Today, with diminished […]

Tavernier Chocolates, Brattleboro

2 minute read “Vermont Chocolatiers Turn a Promising Product into a Business” by Amanda Kuhnert With a shared background in the arts, biology, and chemistry, John Singer and Dar Tavernier-Singer were fascinated by the chocolate-making process. Dar, a life-long baker and chocolatier, began experimenting with truffle-making in the couple’s home kitchen. One thing led to another—holiday gifts for […]

Don’s Auto, Derby

2 minute read Family-Owned Auto Shop Still Growing after 40 Years by Amanda Kuhnert “They are honest, capable, efficient, and it’s good to know that there’s a local auto shop with friendly people that I can trust to do a good job with my car.” This is just one of nearly 700 five-star customer reviews that say, in […]

Groennfell Meadery, St. Albans

2 minute read Groennfell Meadery Owners ‘Jump the Curve’ by Amanda Kuhnert In December of 2018, after five years in business, Kelly and Ricky Klein of Groennfell Meadery announced they would be closing their popular tasting room and restaurant in Colchester. “There is no question that this was the hardest decision we had to make about growing,” they […]

Northern Lights Stable, Danville

< 1 minute read Megan Haygood and her family already had the land, hay and equipment needed to start a horse boarding, breeding, training and riding facility in Danville. But they knew they needed more in order to start a successful business. Enter Michelle Lemieux, an established equine trainer and manager and you have the makings of a quality […]

El Gato Cantina, Essex Junction

2 minute read El Gato Cantina Proving To Be A Culinary Force El Gato Cantina has quickly grown into a well-known authentic Mexican experience for northern Vermont diners. Their flagship Burlington location has long provided a wide variety of dishes and appetizers crafted from traditional Mexican family recipes. And that’s not including the fully stocked bar complete with […]

Lead and Tackle Co., Lyndonville

2 minute read Northeast Kingdom Sporting Goods Store Carries on Tradition Hunting and fishing have long been Vermont traditions that many local sportsmen prepare for all year long. And one young Northeast Kingdom entrepreneur has turned his passion for these outdoors activities into a full-time venture. Theodore Benoit, owner of Lead and Tackle Co. in Lyndonville, recently opened […]