Success Stories

When March rolls around in Vermont’s Green Mountains many large scale sugar makers are already hard at work tapping trees and boiling sap into the sweet syrup the state’s famous sugar maples provide. But there’s also a cadre of small scale home producers who focus on providing a gallon or two for their family and friends.

Those small scale backyard operations did not go unnoticed by husband and wife team Justin McCabe and Kate Whelley McCabe, who themselves had struggled with finding an efficient way for backyard sugar makers to produce affordable syrup for their families.

“Our young family could not find an affordable fun way to sugar on a small scale given the products on the market – and lack thereof,” Whelley McCabe said. This led them to open the Vermont Evaporator Company, a Montpelier based business that makes small scale maple sugar evaporators for backyard sugar makers.

Priced at $825 the evaporators are far more affordable than many of the... Read More

For more than a century Vermont has been known for its dairy industry, but as the state continues to evolve it is increasingly becoming a culinary destination and value added agricultural food producing hub. As New Englanders and beyond become more and more interested in locally grown and produced foods, Vermont small businesses continue to generate delicious fare while also bolstering our local economy and continuing to build off our agricultural roots.

Ploughgate Creamery in Fayston is a prime example of this tradition and evolution. Owned by Marisa Mauro, the creamery opened in 2008 with a cheese making focus before a tragic fire moved the business to its current Northeast Kingdom location in 2012, the same year the creamery transitioned to butter making.

“There aren’t many butter makers in the United States,” Mauro said. “We produce small batch, cultured, artisanal butter.”

While Mauro was passionate about producing quality foods people would enjoy and... Read More

Ryan McDonald, founder and owner of Finn

Not without adventure. It’s a fitting tagline for the three-year-old Finn, a fly fishing goods manufacturer in South Burlington Vt.  

“A friend of mine says it all the time. I feel it is especially true when it comes to running your own business because this is an adventure. Little things pop up all the time. So much is trial and error, but you have to persevere. It’s perseverance that leads you to success,” said Ryan McDonald, founder and owner of Finn.

Along with his partner Jake Sienkiewycz, the two-man shop makes an array of high quality fly fishing goods, including reel cases, side bags, knife rolls and much more.

Brass, canvass, and leather are woven together to create the Huntington Duffel, Streamer Wallet and the Richmond Tube Roll. Both self-taught sewers, items are mostly made by hand except when demand is high in the spring and the Christmas shopping season some items are outsourced to local manufacturers.  Each finished item has a distinct Finn logo... Read More

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