Success Stories

Allison Wright, OWL Food owner

Original, wholesome and local. All three comprise OWL Food, but it is the latter owner Allison Wright is deeply committed to.

“I want my OWL energy bars to be produced locally. It is very important they have that ‘Made in Vermont’ brand,” Wright says as she points to the label of an energy bar. “I feel Vermont works very hard to support small businesses through education and promotion.”

Wright speaks from experience. When she started OWL Food, she received assistance through the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, Vermont Small Business Development Center and SCORE. VtSBDC and SCORE are Small Business Administration resource partners providing counseling services and management assistance, free of charge in most instances to start or grow a business.

Growing up in Shelburne, Wright’s mother made her homemade granola bars. As she got older, Allison came up with her own recipe for energy bars and began making them for herself. She would take them with her... Read More

Sarah DeFelice, owner of Bailey Road

A woman’s clothing store located on Main Street in Montpelier has been opened for about a year and its owner is only 27 years old.

Sarah DeFelice started Bailey Road, named after her grandparents’ farm in Northfield Vt., because she wanted something to call her own and felt she had the experience to do so.

Although only in her mid-20s, she had spent many years learning about retail and clothing while working at both a national chain and an independently-owned store. However, it wasn’t until she spent two summers on a boat did she learn about the hard work needed to prepare her for being a small business owner. 

While attending the University of Vermont, DeFelice worked at Banana Republic learning about sales and customer service. It wasn’t long before she became a top salesperson, selling more than $200,000 worth of clothes a year. After graduating from UVM, she was asked to stay and become a manager. During that time she honed her marketing and visual... Read More

Monica Greene, center, provides a tour of Vermont Precision Tools to Seth Goodall, Small Business Administration New England Administrator, and Darcy Carter, SBA Vermont District Director. Greene, President and CEO of VPT, was named the 2015 Vermont Small Business Person of the Year.

MONTPELIER, Vt.  -- The President and CEO of Vermont Precision Tools was named 2015 Vermont Small Business Person of the Year Monday.

Monica Greene is being recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration for VPT’s employment growth, financial success, company expansion and community involvement.

“VPT is flattered to be recognized as the Vermont Small Business Person of the Year,” said Greene. “VPT prides itself on providing the highest quality products and the collective desire to see the company succeed is evident in every team member at every level.”

Headquartered in Swanton, Vt., VPT manufactures detailed specific tools, including rods and gages, used in the automotive, medical and aeronautic industries. VPT started in 1968 with a Small Business Administration loan in an old warehouse and a few employees. Today the company occupies a 90,000-square-foot facility and is one of the largest employers in the state.

“We’re very excited about VPT being... Read More

When Viktor Witkowski's family fled from Poland to West Germany in the early 1980s he craved his family's traditional, locally sourced culinary treasures - particularly his grandmother's pierogi, which he describes as "my first culinary memory."

Many years would pass before circumstances would allow him to return to Poland to reunite with family members, but when he was finally able to return his grandmother made sure he reconnected with his Polish roots by introducing him to her time-tested family recipes. "She would only use fresh ingredients, most of which were sourced from my grandparents' farm and the surrounding area," Witkowski said.

Pierogi are similar to the more popular dumplings, Witkowski said, describing pierogi as cousins to the eastern European delight. "It is comfort food at its best," he said.

When Witkowski moved to Vermont in 2012 he was once again reminded of his Polish roots. "I realized that (Vermont's) topography is similar to my family's... Read More