Five Lolë ambassadors at a meet-up at Pure Barre in South Burlington. (From left): Anna-Bridgette Shorten, Jennifer Sienkiewicz, Emma Simon, Justine Zolotas and Caitlin Moroney. Provided photo.

Ambassador program pushes Lolë beyond shop’s walls

BURLINGTON — Lolë Burlington, which has been on Church Street for about a year and half, blurs the lines between a fitness club and fashionable active wear for women. The business has built a strong customer base by using classes, events, community outreach and social media to introduce more people to its location and product line, said manager Laura Washburn. Central to that, she said, are fitness instructors who serve as ambassadors that help potential customers realize that Lolë is, “not just another yoga shop,” and pushes marketing beyond the store walls. “It’s a great community connection,” Washburn added “Ambassadors introduce people to the brand, and we introduce our customers to them and their work.”
Washburn described the Lolë clothing as, “Ath-leisure, which is a huge growth industry right now.” It’s clothing that enables women to easily transition from exercise to streetwear, she said. Lolë is an acronym for Live Out Loud Every day.

Owner Megan O’Brien at her store Tangerine on College Street in Burlington. Provided photo.

For 1st boutique, owner remembered to keep it affordable

Fifth-generation Vermonter Megan O’Brien said she thought Burlington needed more shopping, particularly affordable, high-quality women’s clothing. She did her part to remedy that in July when she launched Tangerine on College Street. Tangerine offers new, vintage-inspired Bohemian clothing, focusing on American-made garments from contemporary designers. “It’s an eclectic little bundle of styles I’m hoping you can’t find anywhere else,” O’Brien said. “I try to focus on brands no one else has in Burlington, and do my own thing to offer something different.” Inventory includes dresses, tops, pants, skirts and T-shirts, as well as jackets and coats.

Tom Murphy of the Urban Land Institute and a former three-term mayor of Pittsburgh was keynote speaker at the Burlington Business Association summit on Jan. 26. Photo by Mike Reilly.

Burlington business summit envisions future vitality

BURLINGTON — The former mayor of Pittsburgh told attendees of a business summit last week that Burlington has many of the building blocks in place to pursue economic development. Importantly, said Tom Murphy, “You have what every city wants: a really strong sense of place.”
The Burlington Business Association held its 2017 summit on Jan. 26 at the Hilton Burlington. About 110 members of the Greater Burlington business community participated in the event, which featured national and local presenters. Murphy, a former three-term mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, now with the Urban Land Institute, cited the city’s location on Lake Champlain, great architecture and history, and the presence of a university and medical center.

Mike Reilly PhotoEmployees cut the ribbon for the reimagined Sonesta ES Suites Burlington.

Sonesta ES Suites ‘re-imagined’ in Williston

WILLISTON — Sonesta ES Suites Burlington recently completed a project that brand representatives call as much a “re-imagination and re-invigoration” as a renovation to the property. The multimillion-dollar upgrade includes 96 newly designed studio and two-bedroom suites that emphasize comfort and space for both work and relaxation. The ES Suites brand is Sonesta’s extended-stay hotel offering.

From left, Debbie Lang of the Barns at Lang Farm shows off healing jewelry from Marsya Ancker of Marsya Mind Body Spirit.

Businesses flock to chamber’s annual holiday party

BURLINGTON — As it has for decades, KeyBank played host to the annual Holiday Party in downtown Burlington in December. The event served as a networking event of Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce (LCRCC), with Farrell Distributing, Lake Champlain Chocolates, and Cheese & Wine Traders joining as sponsors. Several local businesses celebrated both the season and strong economic years, and that included the hosts. Don Baker, Vermont market president at KeyBank, said, “We’re coming off maybe our strongest year ever. The economy is gradually getting better, and there’s lots of optimism, post-election, for growth.

Emcee and auctioneer Tim Kavanagh embraces CPSF board member Elizabeth Warren at this year's Culinary Classic.

Culinary Classic highlights a connected, caring community

BURLINGTON — Nearly 400 people filled the event space in the Dudley H. Davis Center at the University of Vermont for the Second annual Culinary Classic to benefit the Cancer Patient Support Foundation, or CPSF. The mid-November event brought together six of the area’s top chefs to compete for the Culinary Cup and People’s Choice Awards, and also featured both silent and live auctions and a dramatic “Mission Moment” on-site donation drive that followed a moving video presentation on the impact of CPSF in people’s lives. Christian Kruse, executive chef of the Basin Harbor Club in Ferrisburgh, took home the Culinary Cup in the judged competition, and Narin Phanthakhot, executive chef at Butch + Babe’s in Burlington earned the People’s Choice award, but the real winners were those who benefit from CPSF supports. This year’s Classic raised more than $112,000 to help CPSF provide emergency assistance to cancer patients, and their families, who are experiencing financial hardship due to their illness and treatment. Elizabeth Warren, who, along with husband Todd Warren, owns Vermont Custom Closets and Otter Creek Awnings in Williston, is a member of the CPSF board and served as the committee chair for this year’s Culinary Classic.

From left, the Vermont Lake Monsters were represented by Adam Matth, Joe Doud and Meg Patrick at the Burlington Business Association’s recent event.

BBA Winter Social helps UVM Alumni House shine

BURLINGTON — Burlington Business Association (BBA) held its Winter Social on Dec. 1 at the new Alumni House at the University of Vermont (UVM). Farmhouse Provisions catered the event, and music from pianist Paul Webb added an additional touch of elegance. Kelly Devine, executive director at BBA, said, “Some of our events are educationally based, but every once in awhile we like to have a little fun, too. Tonight is really about getting folks together and celebrating the season.

This is a rendering of the new sailing center being built at Burlington’s waterfront.

Construction underway on sailing center

BURLINGTON — Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center (CSC) hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking event on Nov. 15, just north of Waterfront Park in Burlington. The site will be home to CSC’s new world-class waterfront campus and sailing education center, which are already under construction. The ceremony included the announcement of two major “anchor” gifts — of $1 million each — which went a long way toward fulfilling CSC’s $5.75 million Love Your Lake Capital Campaign. These gifts, from the Pomerleau Family Foundation and from family and friends in honor of Raymond P. Sullivan, will help create The Pomerleau Community Waterfront Campus and Raymond P. Sullivan Sailing Education Center.

Kimberly Abruntilla poses for a photo at her store in Burlington.

Hendrix Boutique focuses on fashion, community

BURLINGTON — Kimberly Abruntilla launched Hendrix Boutique on Church Street this summer, offering women’s luxury clothing and making a conscious commitment to her community. This is the first business venture for Abruntilla, who graduated with a business degree from St. Michael’s College earlier this year, but the entrepreneurial drive is not new. “I’ve wanted to do this since I was a little girl, so I did it right out of college,” Abruntilla said. “Life is short — why not start my dream now?”
Located in a second-floor shop above Ken’s Pizza, Hendrix offers women’s fashions from designers based in New York, Miami, California and Australia.

From left, the Green State Gardener crew includes Christopher Walsh, Kelsy Raap, Dylan Rapp and Acoy Cofiño.

Green State Gardener offers DIY store

BURLINGTON — Green State Gardener, launched as a Web-based business more than a year ago, added a retail store in Burlington’s South End this summer. Business partners Christopher Walsh and Dylan Raap opened the store on Pine Street, in a portion of the space previously occupied by Burlington Furniture. Under a tagline encouraging customers to “grow your own health revolution,” the business offers a full line of products to grow medicinal plants, as well as other indoor- and small-space gardening solutions. These include indoor and outdoor medicinal plants kits, organic soils and fertilizers, grow lights and tents, greenhouses, fans, filters and ventilation equipment, planters and pots, and accessories for grow-room or outdoor gardening. “The online business, which pre-dates the store by about a year, started with medicinal plants in general, of which cannabis is one,” Raap said.