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.

From left, Dave Saraceno of Union Street Media, Cari Kelley of United Way of Northwest Vermont and Suzanne Johnson of HealingWindsVermont and RE/MAX North Professionals pose for a photo at the chamber’s recent Annual Dinner.

Networking is appetizer for Chamber’s Annual Dinner

BURLINGTON — The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce (LCRCC) held its 106th Annual Dinner on Nov. 10 at the Hilton Hotel in Burlington. The dinner was preceded by a Networking After Hours cocktail reception. Event sponsors included Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew, FairPoint Communications, KeyBank, New England Federal Credit Union, People’s United Bank, REM Development, and David Seaver Photography. During its Annual Dinner, LCRCC welcomed Tom Clavelle as the incoming chair of its board of directors.

Dan Cypress and Jessica Bridge are the owners of Element Real Estate, which recently opened in downtown Burlington.

Boutique real estate office debuts in Burlington

BURLINGTON — Element Real Estate opened an office in downtown Burlington earlier this year, when owners Jessica Bridge and Dan Cypress thought the time was right to launch their own boutique real estate firm. The residential Realtors got a refreshed company logo and acquired space at 139 Bank Street, a location that has previously housed a dry cleaner, art store and gallery, among others. “We’ve been business partners for 10 years,” Cypress said. “We started at RE/MAX together, and worked together the entire time.” The two were initially on a team at RE/MAX North Professionals and, after about two years, formed and began building their own team. This past spring, Bridge and Cypress decided to leave RE/MAX to open their own office with their team.

Gwen Pokalo, the program manager of the Vermont Center for Women & Enterprise, is shown at CWE’s new office in Burlington.

Center for Women & Enterprise opens new resource center

BURLINGTON — The Center for Women & Enterprise, a regional nonprofit economic development organization, has opened its office in the Maltex Building in Burlington’s South End. Gwen Pokalo, program manager of Vermont CWE, said the office will house the Vermont Women’s Business Center, which is federally funded through a Small Business Administration (SBA) grant. The grant funds a center to provide technical assistance to businesses throughout every stage of development. Vermont is the newest office for CWE, which also operates centers in Boston, Central Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. CWE was founded in 1995 in Boston.