Equifax hack creates unease about security

The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The Equifax breach is reminding small business owners that they may be vulnerable to cybercriminals. Companies that provide security and other technology services to small businesses say they’ve had an increase in calls from customers since Equifax revealed that the personal information of 143 million Americans had been exposed. The hack galvanized some owners into dealing with long-delayed issues. “A customer called me today wanting to replace their one remaining XP computer,” says Bob Herman, owner of IT Tropolis, a tech service company in Fountain Valley, California. Microsoft stopped providing security updates for XP models three and a half years ago.

Evens Presendeaux of Haiti speaks with coworkers on the floor of a factory in Tijuana, Mexico. Presendeaux is among about 4,000 Haitians to establish roots in Mexico’s northwest corner after the United States abruptly closed its doors late last year.
GREGORY BULL / AP PHOTO

Halted at US border, Haitians find ‘Mexican dream’

The Associated Press
TIJUANA, Mexico — Jose Luis Millan found a new crop of star employees at an upscale Tijuana car wash where customers cross the border from the United States to pay up to $950 to have their prized possessions steamed and scrubbed for hours. They’re never late, always hustle and come in on days off to learn new skills, traits that he says make them a model for their Mexican counterparts. They are among several thousand Haitians who came to Mexico’s northwest corner hoping to cross the border before the U.S. abruptly closed its doors last year. The Mexican government has welcomed them with visas that help them fill the need for labor in Tijuana’s growing economy. In a country whose population is 1 percent black, Tijuana’s Haitians stand out.

Current offerings at Mad River Distillers in Warren include a maple cask rum, vanilla rum and three whiskeys, including the experimental Burnt Rock Bourbon.
STEFAN HARD / STAFF PHOTO

STORY AND VIDEO: Mad River Distillers finds freedom in ‘craft’ scale

WARREN — Mad River Distillers is calling the release of its latest whiskey, Burnt Rock Bourbon, “super limited.” That means if you don’t live in Vermont or parts of Massachusetts, you probably won’t have much of an opportunity to try it. At least not yet. If this whiskey, which producers describe as having a smokey flavor due to its mash profile of corn, rye wheat and maplewood-smoked barley, proves popular, they’ll make more. Then they can distribute it throughout New England and parts of New York and California with their other spirits — bourbon and rye whiskeys, brandy and several aged rums. For now, they’ve produced 400 cases, and brought it to market in the past week. That flexibility comes from being a small producer in a hot market.

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Book review: Learn the art of the pitch

“You Get What You Pitch For” by Anthony Sullivan with Tim Vandehey, 2017, Da Capo Press, $26, 232 pages

Throw it out. That’s what always seems to happen to your best ideas, your finest interviews, the proud moments that fall flat as pavement. Ugh. When it comes to The Big Ask, “what are you doing wrong?” Read “You Get What You Pitch For” by Anthony Sullivan with Tim Vandehey; the answer is no throwaway. Back when he was 24 years old and selling mops, Sullivan lived in a van and slept atop the product, but he was on a learning curve.

South Burlington entrepreneur and engineer James Clark, here with son Nicholas, has created a monitoring system that gives users extensive data on their aquariums. It will be on the market soon.
COURTESY PHOTO

Invention to put aquarists’ minds at ease

BURLINGTON — Wireless products inventor and engineer James Clark was looking to start a new hobby, so he designed and built a Koi pond to beautify his backyard. Things went wrong almost from the start. “As soon as I put in the Koi pond I had a lot of my fish die, and a lot of frustration. I couldn’t figure out what was going on,” Clark said. The problem was in the water chemistry of the pond.

Chad Fry, left, and Mark Frier sit inside the entryway to their new Mexican restaurant and performance venue, Tres Amigos restaurant and the Rusty Nail Stage, on the Mountain Road in Stowe. Although the restaurant opened September 8, the live performance space, being built to hold up to 300, is still under construction.
STEFAN HARD / STAFF PHOTO

Iconic Stowe venue reborn with Mexican restaurant in tow

STOWE — Mark Frier has a full plate these days. He and business partner Chad Fry own the Reservoir Restaurant & Taproom in Waterbury, and Stowe restaurant The Bench. And they recently added a third spot to their repertoire, revamping the iconic Stowe music venue Rusty Nail into a Mexican restaurant and live music space called Tres Amigos & Rusty Nail Stage. The restaurant opened to the public on Sept. 8, serving authentic Mexican fare along with a sizable list of tequilas, mezcals and margaritas in addition to 24 draft-beer selections with an emphasis on Vermont brews.

International investing: Still a journey to consider

Columbus Day is observed on Oct. 9. And while it may be true that Leif Erikson and the Vikings beat Columbus to the New World, Columbus Day nonetheless remains important in the public eye, signifying themes such as exploration and discovery. As an investor, you don’t have to cross the ocean blue, as Columbus did, to find opportunities. But it may be a good idea to put some of your money to work outside the United States.

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A holistic approach to aging’s ‘new normal’

 “How Do I Get There from Here?” by George H. Schofield, 2017, Amacom, $16.95, 237 pages. White sandy beaches. Waves that gently kiss your toes with warm water. In your minds’ eye, they stretch for miles and they’re yours to explore. That will be your retirement — or so you hope.

Jonathan Wilmot, center, talks about his electric Fat Bicycle with 4-inch wide tires with visitors at the recent 2017 Electric Vehicle Expo in White River Junction.
PHOTO BY ALLAN STEIN

Festival showcases draw of alternative transportation

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The 2017 Nissan Leaf Todd Kowalczyk purchased in June to replaced his trusted Subaru Outback is about as eco-friendly as 21st-century automotive technology can get. Silver, futuristic, curvy in all the right places, and mechanically reliable, the Leaf is a sleek-looking ride for its class and generation. Best of all, the Leaf is great on gas. That’s because it doesn’t need any: the Leaf is powered by a rechargeable battery that guarantees driving distances of up to 107 miles on a single charge. The “sweet spot” for Kowalczyk is that the Leaf is a great commuter vehicle that gives him peak performance at cruising speeds of 40 to 50 miles per hour.

Houston’s small businesses inch back to work

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
FEMA estimates that nearly 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. HOUSTON — Bobby Jucker has had it with hurricanes. In 2008, Hurricane Ike tore the roof off his business, Three Brothers Bakery. Now, he estimates, he’s facing $1 million in damage and lost revenue from Harvey — the fifth time a storm has put his bakery out of commission. He’s always recovered before.