2017 Hurricane Recovery: You may be eligible for an SBA loan deferment

Success Stories

Brandon Darmstadt, 19, opened up Arnie's Ice Cream in August after graduating from U-32 High School in East Montpelier in the spring of 2015.

By Danny Monahan

Small Business Administration


During the summer when most recent high school graduates are looking forward to going away to college, joining the military or taking some time off, a Middlesex teenager decided to start his own business in Montpelier.

Brandon Darmstadt, 19, opened up Arnie's Ice Cream in August after graduating from U-32 High School in East Montpelier in the spring of 2015.

Since grade school, Darmstadt said he’s had a bevy of business ideas and logos running through in his head, everything from a luxury resort to an armored vehicle company.

In 10th grade he got the idea of starting an ice cream business since Montpelier had not had a hard ice cream shop in several years. To make his idea a reality, he enrolled in U-32’s independent study program where he created a plan to start an ice cream shop.

“While in school, Brandon worked tirelessly from the fall of 2011 to the spring of 2015 to launch his... Read More


In recent years medical spas and laser centers have popped up all across the U.S. offering everything from massages and waxing, to laser tattoo and hair removal.  Many are presented as holistic and tranquil sanctuaries in advertisements, but Bare in Burlington is taking a different approach.

Bare truly embraces its name and it’s apparent to people when they visit the website. Instead of an image of people wearing white robes with cream on their faces and cucumbers on their eyelids, Bare’s homepage displays an oversized image of an attractive young man and woman.

“We refer to them as our 'Bare couple,'” said owner and founder of Bare Medical Spa + Laser Center, Jamie Spano. “Some think the image is a bit edgy and I understand that, but most feedback on our branding has been very positive. People like that we are embracing what it is we do.  Everyone wants to look and feel good about themselves, but unfortunately we all have that one little “thing” about ourselves that... Read More

Atlas Acupuncture

When it comes to curing what ails you, more and more Vermonters are opting for paths to wellness that do not rely on the pharmaceutical industry, instead exploring more natural holistic remedies.

Burlington Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist Montana Burns was well aware of this growing trend as she watched her practice grow out of its coopted space in early 2015. She knew it was time to open her own practice in a non-shared location in order to better meet client demand and better serve her existing clients. In July 2015, Atlas Acupuncture at 127 Main Street in Burlington was born.

As the many client testimonies on the practice’s website attest, Atlas Acupuncture clients continue to be pleased with the results Montana’s expertise provides, but transitioning the practice out of the original co-op proved to be a challenge within itself. With the help of Vermont Small Business Development Center Area Business Advisor Steve Densham, Montana was able to meet that... Read More

Bill Hanf, Green Mountain Avionics

The job training an enlistee receives from the armed forces can lead to beneficial post-military life. Bill Hanf’s, owner of Green Mountain Avionics, career began when he was a private in the U.S. Marine Corps. 

When Hanf decided to join the Marines, his father was supportive, but wanted him the get a guaranteed Military Occupational Specialty. The two looked over career fields and avionics appealed to the younger Hanf. Avionics are the electronic components of a plane such as navigation, communications, weather and radar.

“The Marine Corps was good for me and I liked it. The Corps solidified my work ethic,” said Hanf. 

After a six year stint in the service, Hanf decided to stay in the avionics career field. He took a job in southern California with Cessna working primarily on Citations and years later Cessna promoted him to their New York office. While working in New York, Hanf came home to Vermont as often as he could. Eventually he wanted to make it... Read More