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Success Stories

Logging and forestry work is a quintessential Vermont industry, but today’s loggers face challenges that those of yesteryear probably never imagined. The days of low cost tools like hatchets and hand saws that required manpower instead of costly equipment are largely behind us. Today’s loggers need heavy equipment to be relevant in a highly competitive lumber market.

Few know that better than Everett Thurston, owner of Thurston Forestry in Clarendon, which began operations last fall. The company utilizes a rubber tired cut-to-length logging machine that is highly efficient in processing timber from the woods. “I have always wanted to my own business and enjoy the logging industry and being around heavy equipment,” Thurston said.

But as one might expect, obtaining an expensive piece of equipment of this size can be a challenge. That’s why Thurston sought the help of Vermont Small Business Development Center Area Advisor Brian DeClue. As he sought funding for the... Read More

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