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Success Stories

A small business in Wilder, Vt. is putting the final touches on one of its most significant projects. Soon Vermod will finish construction of its 100th home.

After Tropical Storm Irene struck Vermont in 2011, it was determined about 130 mobile homes were destroyed and more than 400 were damaged. During the aftermath, state and local officials recommended several proposals to assist Vermont mobile homeowners.  Cities and towns were asked to update their emergency plans to include mobile home areas. A loan program was established for Vermonters to obtain affordable financing to buy a mobile home. One of the more ambitious plans was when several non-profit organizations teamed up to create the Modular Housing Innovation Project in 2013. It was a pilot program to construct 10 well-insulated and energy efficient modular homes to replace mobile homes.  Leading the effort was Steven Davis, Vermod owner, a local builder with an energy-efficient construction background.

“The... Read More

The Body is slouched, the hands are tightly gripped around the handlebars and the feet are constantly kicking the axle. It all looks so unnatural. It can be painful to witness.

"Twelve years ago I had a running stroller and it was terrible. I vowed one day I would find something better," said Heather Dalton, Founder and CEO of StrollRunner.

StrollRunner is a woman-owned startup based in Burlington, Vt. designing a steerable, hands-free running belt that attaches to jogging strollers.

"When I'd run years after having a baby, I'd see someone running with a stroller, they'd look miserable and I'd think 'I'm going to fix that,'" Dalton said.

There are some hands-free products available, but Dalton says they are at the extreme ends of the spectrum. Hiqh-quality ones are cost prohibitive and the affordable ones are inadequate.

Dalton wanted to make one that is high-quality and affordable. But she never knew where to start.  All she knew was there was... Read More

In February 2017, the two owners and co-founders of one of the most popular breweries in Vermont sold their business. It was significant news throughout Vermont because the brewery was not sold to an out-of-state entrepreneur or “Big Beer,” but to the employees.

Bill Cherry and Jeff Neiblum sold 100 percent of Switchback Brewing Co. to the Switchback employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. 

An ESOP is a business structure where employees purchase a company’s stock, which is held in an account for each individual employee. When an employee leaves or retires, they receive the stock and have the option to sell it on the open market or back to the company.

“Switchback is a Vermont beer and it was important to us that the brewery remain part of Vermont,” said Cherry. “The ESOP was a good option for our succession plan.  It allows us to stay involved in the business without the outside pressures that can arise from venture capital or a total buyout.  It... Read More

In 2005 a professional gardener was having trouble coming up with a name for the small business she was starting. Nothing seemed to excite her or capture her imagination. But one day while in a movie theater, her then eight-year-old daughter Louissa noticed the film’s production company was Red Wagon Entertainment. She said asked her mother “Why don’t we name it that?” Julie Rubaud loved the idea and named her startup Red Wagon Plants.  Her daughter went home and drew the first version of the logo of a little girl pulling a wagon full of plants. For 14 years the nursery on Shelburne Falls Road in Hinesburg has been growing and selling a variety of plants and flowers year-round.

Rubaud grew up in a home with vegetable gardens and a greenhouse, so it was natural to pursue gardening as a career. When the business launched, it started small and only operated from April to June. The business consisted of three small greenhouses selling wholesale to a select clientele. One of her... Read More