AS BRISTOL BAKERY Wholesale has expanded, the business has needed to purchase additional equipment in order to keep up with demand. With the help of a $15,000 BGS grant through the ACEDC, Bristol Bakery Wholesale was able to purchase a pouch-filling machine, which helps them package products at a faster rate.
Independent photo/Steve James
BRISTOL — Kevin Harper started out as a hopeful entrepreneur in 1977, making organic lip products in his kitchen in Ripton. Over the next 24 years, Harper expanded his idea into what became Autumn Harp, a multi-million-dollar company with more than 75 full-time employees.
Autumn Harp was relocated from Harper’s kitchen to a larger space in 1982, and again to a facility on Pine Street in Bristol a decade later. Finally in 2010, Autumn Harp Incorporated and moved to its current location in Essex Junction.
Although Harper was pleased to see the growth of his start-up, he ultimately decided to...
ATHENA APPEARS TO enjoy her care at Comfort Hill Kennel in Vergennes, where boarding numbers have decreased significantly since the start of the pandemic. CARES Act funding through the Restart VT Technical Assistance program has allowed Comfort Hill to create alternative revenue streams by launching a digital marketing campaign and opening an online store.
VERGENNES — The inside of Comfort Hill Kennel in Vergennes is filled with the sounds of barking dogs, buzzing grooming shears and scurrying paws. Given the craziness of the kennel, it’s hard to believe Comfort Hill is housing only a fraction of the number of dogs it typically does. However Comfort Hill’s co-owner and president, Linette Poquette, said that boarding numbers have been significantly lower since the start of the coronavirus pandemic this past March.
“People are working from home so they’re not bringing their dogs as much, and they’re not going on vacation for obvious reasons, so...
JACOB BIRCHMORE DECIDED to pursue his dream of running his own business full-time in January of this year. With the help of a $50,000 ACEDC loan, he was able to convert this garage into his own mechanic shop and make that dream a reality.
Independent photo/Marin Howell
ADDISON — At age 14, Jacob Birchmore began working on cars just a mile down the road from where he would open his own shop in Addison, Birchmore Sales & Service, seven years later.
Learning the ropes from Justin Almedia, Addison-based diesel mechanic and owner of Just Fix It, Birchmore said those early experiences are what began his love for auto mechanics.
“I enjoyed the fact that there was always a different job to be done and so much to learn, then the satisfaction when the job was complete,” said Birchmore.
Throughout high school, Birchmore continued to work on cars through the...
BEN RAPHAEL'S LOVE for carpentry began with building Legos and tree houses as a child. Today, his woodworking business, Wooden Hammer, specializes in custom cabinetry and furniture, which he does from his newly renovated shop in Monkton.
MONKTON — Ben Raphael’s passion for woodworking began long before he started Monkton-based Wooden Hammer, his carpentry business that specializes in custom cabinetry and furniture.
As a young boy, Raphael made tree houses in the woods near his childhood home in nearby Panton, and was obsessed with building Lego projects — key experiences, he said, that led to his love of building and woodworking.
“I always loved building stuff as a kid, of course starting with blocks and Legos,” said Raphael, who also credited his father, David Raphael, who founded and ran Middlebury-based Landworks for...
AGRICOLA FARM OWNERS Alessandra Rellini, left, and Stefano Pinna, met in 2015 and recently expanded their farming business to include a meat processing facility in Middlebury. This new facility will serve as a space to process and cure pork into Italian style charcuterie.
PANTON — After a couple of years of raising two dozen pigs, and trying to make a go of selling pork locally as a hobby farmer, Alessandra Rellini knew two things: she needed to get bigger to make her business work and she needed some help from a person who had expertise in the field.
So, she wrote a classified ad for a farm assistant and sent it afar on a wing and a prayer.
As fate would have it, the ad reached Stefano Pinna, who had just finished his Masters degree in Agricultural Science at the University of Torino in Italy and was looking to travel to see how people farmed around the...
VERGENNES/MIDDLEBURY — With the number of COVID-19 cases forecast to rise throughout the holiday season, Vermonters may be wary of doing their holiday shopping in-person. Local retailers are creating alternative shopping methods and working to ensure customers’ safety in stores.
Many local businesses have worked to create remote shopping methods for their customers. Employees at Linda’s Clothing & Gifts on Main Street in Vergennes now connect with shoppers through text and email in order to show their merchandise to customers remotely.
Sales associate and merchandiser Cheryl Shea said...
VERGENNES/BRISTOL — A tragic accident this past summer has inspired a fundraising effort on behalf of the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad.
On Friday, Oct. 30, community members presented VARS with a new LUCAS 3 CPR apparatus, funds for which were raised in memory of Tracy Bedell and Bobby Lowell, who died from injuries sustained in a July ATV crash.
Bedell’s grandmother Elizabeth Armstrong, who helped raise the funds, said she and other fundraisers felt they needed to give back to the rescue squad.
“We don’t do enough for our rescue squad people,” she said at the presentation ceremony. “I felt...
MIDDLEBURY — President Donald Trump’s refusal to recognize former Vice President Joe Biden as president-elect has prevented collaboration between his team and Biden’s.
“I would say this is abnormal in the sense that you’re not having active cooperation between the outgoing and the incoming administration,” said Middlebury College political science professor Matt Dickinson.
The traditional cooperation facilitates a smooth transition of power between administrations. Dickinson said the incoming president can benefit from the guidance of the sitting president’s administration and that Trump’s...
DR. DAN O’ROURKE (onscreen) of the VA Medical Center in White River Junction conducts a test call at the Virtual Living Room telemedicine center at Bristol American Legion Post 19 when the private room opened this past February. Local veterans can communicate with their doctors via video feed for some appointments, instead of driving or riding long distances to see them in person.
Independent file photo/Christopher Ross
A message went up on the Facebook page for American Legion Post 14 in Vergennes this past March 16.
“The Legion will be closed until further notice till the ban is lifted for the coronavirus, sorry everyone!! Stay safe!!!”
In Vergennes and around Vermont, organizations offering services to veterans found themselves scrambling to figure out how to help the people who served their nation in the armed forces. That included big things like offering life-saving medical care, and everyday things like chances to socialize.
How would they offer services when they couldn’t ensure the safety of vets...
IN A VIDEO accompanying this story Sarah Stott of Bristol provides a simple, step-by-step primer on making phone calls in the run up to this election. Watch the video at the link at the bottom of this page.
ADDISON COUNTY — Political activists, both locally and nationally, are preparing for the worst-case outcome on Election Day — an election that’s too close to call that evening and a rule-defying president who has deliberately spread doubts about the validity of mail-in ballots and has threatened to declare himself the winner before all ballots are counted.
To counter the president’s threat and to make sure America’s election proceeds within the law, activists are already staging training sessions and lining up citizen volunteers to be ready to peacefully protest to make sure every vote counts...