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.

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.

Greenbanc founder North Lennox works at the GMP Inspire Space in Colchester.

Small business moves to Vt. via Inspire Space

COLCHESTER — Through a recent contest, the energy-assessment company Greenbanc became one of five entrepreneurs to share space and work alongside the Green Mountain Power team in GMP’s Inspire Space. The Inspire Space is an area located inside GMP’s Colchester headquarters meant to attract and support energy entrepreneurs and open the door to ways they can collaborate with the utility. Like GMP, Greenbanc is a certified B Corp, meaning it values making a positive social and environmental impact and meets certain standards in those areas. The nonprofit B Lab gives the B Corp certification, based on criteria that need to be met. Greenbanc was the fifth business to get involved with the Inspire Space, after founder North Lennox heard about the recent contest when he was living in New York.

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.

This the interior of the King Street Center, a Burlington-based community center serving over 500 low-income children and families with a variety of programs.

Financing a vision: Building in sustainability

Planning for a new facility is doubly daunting for a nonprofit community organization. In addition to the fundraising and financing necessary for the construction, the nonprofit must create a plan to sustain operating costs for the new facility, knowing it cannot rely on increasing revenue or fees from low-income clients.

From left, Judy, Phil and Dave Adams pose for a photo at their farm in Westford.

Turkey farm is part of a diverse business

WESTFORD — For the past 35 autumns, motorists driving on Old Stage Road here have slowed in front of Adams Turkey Farm, rolled down a window and heard “Gobble gobble gobble.” To the passerby, that is the sound of a thousand Thanksgiving turkeys, but to Judy and Dave Adams and their son Phil, it’s the sound of the most tiring time of the year.