Liz Gamache, director at Efficiency Vermont, at the Better Buildings by Design conference at the Sheraton in South Burlington. Courtesy photo

Conference reflects breadth of energy efficiency benefits

In early February, Efficiency Vermont hosted its 16th Better Buildings by Design conference. One of my favorite events of the year, Better Buildings brings together our partners from the building, design and clean energy industries. More than 1,000 attendees from across the country attended this year’s conference, which offered more than 40 workshops over the course of two days. This year I kicked off the conference with some welcoming remarks and talked about the role I see energy efficiency playing in the industry, as a unifier. It’s a common-sense solution that isn’t up for debate, because it’s hard to argue that no matter where our energy is coming from, we should try to use less of it.


Enjoy being ‘Organized Enough’

“Organized Enough” by Amanda Sullivan, 2017, DaCapo Lifelong, $16.99, 229 pages
You know exactly where Monday’s report is. That, of course, doesn’t mean anybody else could find it. You put that report in a safe place in your office, which is organized to work for you. But is it really organized, or is it just a mess? Admit it: it’s probably the latter and nobody’s perfect, but with “Organized Enough” by Amanda Sullivan, you might find a perfect solution.

Annie Bakst and Robert Hunt at their recently-opened Bohemian Bakery on Barre Street in Montpelier. Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo

New bakery: Bohemia finds a home in town

Staff writer
MONTPELIER — The iconic Bohemian Bakery is back after a relocation and transformation, much to the delight of its devoted followers. The bakery reopened Feb. 8 on Barre Street in the Capital City after closing last fall because it had outgrown its former home. Owners Robert Hunt and Annie Bakst wanted to reorganize and find a new site. The bakery first opened in 2003 in a 1835 farmstead in East Calais and quickly became a destination for foodies.

Study: Retiree gain surpasses youth drain in Vermont

Since 1977, United Van Lines, a global transportation, warehousing and freight corporation been tracking migration patterns on a state-by-state basis. A study released from 2016 concluded that Vermont is experiencing more inbound moves than outbound, and that has been the case for nearly three years running. “For nearly 40 years, we’ve been tracking which states people are moving to and from, and we’ve recently started surveying our customers to understand why they are making these moves across state lines. For Vermont, a higher percentage are moving into the state rather than leaving,” said Melissa Sullivan, director of marketing and communications at United. United Van Lines is the nation’s largest household goods mover, the company’s data reflect national migration trends.


‘Why Time Flies’ will show you a good time

“Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation” by Alan Burdick, 2017, Simon & Schuster, $28
Your last vacation was really fun. Those seven days felt like 10 minutes. And then you were back to work, where 10 minutes can seem like seven days. Why is that? How come enjoyable things whiz by fast and why do you wake up seconds before the alarm goes off?

Five Lolë ambassadors at a meet-up at Pure Barre in South Burlington. (From left): Anna-Bridgette Shorten, Jennifer Sienkiewicz, Emma Simon, Justine Zolotas and Caitlin Moroney. Provided photo.

Ambassador program pushes Lolë beyond shop’s walls

BURLINGTON — Lolë Burlington, which has been on Church Street for about a year and half, blurs the lines between a fitness club and fashionable active wear for women. The business has built a strong customer base by using classes, events, community outreach and social media to introduce more people to its location and product line, said manager Laura Washburn. Central to that, she said, are fitness instructors who serve as ambassadors that help potential customers realize that Lolë is, “not just another yoga shop,” and pushes marketing beyond the store walls. “It’s a great community connection,” Washburn added “Ambassadors introduce people to the brand, and we introduce our customers to them and their work.”
Washburn described the Lolë clothing as, “Ath-leisure, which is a huge growth industry right now.” It’s clothing that enables women to easily transition from exercise to streetwear, she said. Lolë is an acronym for Live Out Loud Every day.

Owner Megan O’Brien at her store Tangerine on College Street in Burlington. Provided photo.

For 1st boutique, owner remembered to keep it affordable

Fifth-generation Vermonter Megan O’Brien said she thought Burlington needed more shopping, particularly affordable, high-quality women’s clothing. She did her part to remedy that in July when she launched Tangerine on College Street. Tangerine offers new, vintage-inspired Bohemian clothing, focusing on American-made garments from contemporary designers. “It’s an eclectic little bundle of styles I’m hoping you can’t find anywhere else,” O’Brien said. “I try to focus on brands no one else has in Burlington, and do my own thing to offer something different.” Inventory includes dresses, tops, pants, skirts and T-shirts, as well as jackets and coats.

Alexander Allison, 14, of Marshfield, who hopes to be a veterinarian, visits with goats at his home Wednesday. Allison is involved in a 13-week class at CCV as part of the McClure Foundation Pathways to Promising Careers program. Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo

Better Vermont jobs, and how to get them

Staff writer
What are the most promising jobs with the highest wages in Vermont in the next 10 years? Job seekers need look no further than Pathways to Promising Careers, a joint survey by the Burlington-based McClure Foundation and Vermont Department of Labor. The survey anticipates high demand in health care, education, technology, finance and the wood industry, with numerous job openings that pay $20 an hour or more. But there is one caveat: Many require training and education beyond high school. Statistics show that only 60 percent of Vermont high school students enroll in college within 16 months of graduating.

Aria Allen shops for local produce at Mazza's Farm Stand in Essex. Aria, who grew up on a farm in Greensboro and now works in Montpelier, appreciates local food and buys it as much as she can. To save money, she prefers to buy directly from the source and will often shop at farm stands near her home. Photo provided by Rooted in Vermont.

Opinion: Why local burgers are more expensive

When purchasing food, cost is often a deciding factor for consumers. Why buy a 12-ounce package of local bacon for $7.99 when you can get it for $4.98? Purchasing local food means you know where your food comes from, you’re buying food that is generally healthier and you’re helping drive the local economy to keep more jobs and dollars circulating in the state. Still, price can be a sticking point for many Vermonters. While it’s true that the cost of local food at the grocery store is often higher than mass-produced commodity food, the reasons for that might surprise you.

T.J. Whalen

Fresh Tracks takes a fresh approach

By Bruce Edwards
SHELBURNE — The list of companies is impressive: Vermont Teddy Bear, SunCommon, Brighter Planet, Mamava, Budnitz Bicycles. These are among the 30 companies that Fresh Tracks Capital has invested in over the years. Now the Shelburne venture capital firm is about to launch a new fund, Fresh Tracks Capital IV, which will invest in up to 15 companies, mostly in Vermont, that are just starting out. The fund’s new manager is T.J. Whalen, who was also named a general partner. “The part of it that I will focus on that is somewhat unique to what Fresh Tracks has been doing is a little bit more of a pronounced focus in consumer products and food and beverage sectors, which Vermont produces a lot of for all the right reasons,” Whalen said.