Roberta Parker with her three kids.
Photo by Meg Brazill

Angry Goat sets up pepper jam outlet in WRJ

Correspondent
A goat that made life difficult for Roberta and Jason Parker became the namesake for their award-winning hot sauces and hot-pepper jams, produced under the name, the Angry Goat Pepper Co. The inspiration for making hot-pepper jams dates back to the couple’s honeymoon in Bermuda nine years ago, when they discovered street vendors selling hot pepper jellies. Jason Parker was instantly hooked by the new taste discovery and it stuck with him. Back in Vermont, he was ready to leave the corporate work world. The couple had been raising chickens and selling a few products for side income at a farmers market.

Many of the lamps Ken Blaisdell creates at his White River Junction shop. Provided photo

Shedding light on 20 years of lamp making

Correspondent

When Ken Blaisdell opened his business, Lampscapes, 20 years ago in White River Junction, the neighborhood and the business climate looked very different from today. It’s an unlikely success story but a model for entrepreneurs who want to make a business of selling their own handmade goods. First rule of thumb? Work hard and keep it up — and make sure you start with a good idea. Blaisdell first put down stakes in February 1997 when White River Junction was just another Vermont town that could be on the verge of a comeback, but probably wasn’t.

Gertrude Sofia Suokko, of Woodstock, models some of the clothing she designs and markets. Photos by Glenn Suokko.

Clothing design evolves from hobby to opportunity

Correspondent
WOODSTOCK — Entrepreneurs find their callings in every industry, not just high tech. Working with fine fabrics and a Bernina sewing machine, Gertrude Sofia Suokko, 22, is following a path that might be considered part of the growing maker movement. Suokko is owner and designer of Sofia, which offers original clothing designs, handmade in Vermont. “Sofia grew out of a lifelong love of designing and making clothes,” said Suokko, a Woodstock resident. Suokko said Sofia wear is easy, elegant, comfortable clothing.

Anika Abrahamsen prepares vegetable fritters for customers to try with one of Oh! Veggies’ sauces on Columbus Day weekend at the Windsor store.

Healthy eating earns good reputation at Oh! Veggies

WINDSOR — “You love veggies — you just don’t know it yet.”
That’s one of the slogans Oh! Veggies uses to let consumers know that a healthy diet can also be a delicious one. The 2,000-square-foot retail store located in Artisans Park in Windsor features sauces, seasonings and spices created specifically to flavor vegetables. Oh! Veggies also sells a line of reasonably priced products such as chopping and slicing tools and steamers that make prepping vegetables faster and easier.

Susan Inui and Don Ransom pose for a photo at Scotland by the Yard.

Scotland by the Yard owner to retire, close store

QUECHEE — Scotland by the Yard, on its hilltop location in Quechee, has been a familiar landmark to area residents and returning tourists for almost four decades. But this summer there’s an additional sign that’s been getting attention, which reads “Retirement Sale.” Owner and merchant Don Ransom put the store’s inventory of fine Celtic imports on sale in May — and business has been booming. Ransom, who will turn 70 this year, is selling as much of the store’s merchandise as possible before he closes the doors on the business in August. The store’s selection of Celtic goods includes Irish Mohair and Scottish Tartan blankets, Irish and Scottish jewelry, worsted wool Tartan fabrics, kilts and kilt accessories including sporrans (a pouch made of leather or animal fur worn in the front of the kilt), and an extensive collection of gift items and more. “The response to the sale has been really great,” Ransom said.

Evelyn Brey, co-owner of The Village Inn in Woodstock, gets some work done in the kitchen.

The Village Inn wraps up major project

WOODSTOCK — The Village Inn of Woodstock has just gotten a facelift. It not only has a new front porch, it has three of them, one for each story of the building. The inn, owned by Evelyn and David Brey since 2001, has been getting a lot of attention since construction began on the building’s exterior. Built in 1899, the Victorian-style inn has eight guest rooms that accommodate 16 people, a professional kitchen, tavern and dining room. Although the Breys have been renovating the inn over the past 15 years, including an addition on the side of the building, it’s the construction of the new porches that has grabbed people’s attention.

American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens stands next to the clay model for the "Standing Lincoln" in his studio in Cornish, N.H.

Amid boost in visitor traffic, Saint-Gaudens plans 50th with Lincoln

CORNISH, N.H. – Abraham Lincoln will find a home in Cornish, N.H., this summer. A 12-foot-tall bronze statue of Lincoln, that is. Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site is celebrating its 50th anniversary, as well as the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service this year. In addition, the National Park Service, or NPS, is working with parks around the country that have a special connection to Lincoln. American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens created many of his most significant works at the park, including two full-scale statues of the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.

Employee Carol Lang arranges the clothing racks at Fat Hat Clothing's new location in White River Junction.

Fat Hat debuts WRJ store

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION – F.H. Clothing Co. has opened a new location in White River Junction, adding to the growing amount of business activity in the downtown. Its new “satellite” storefront on Gates Street is across from the Barrette Center for the Arts, home to Northern Stage. F.H. Clothing – or Fat Hat Clothing, as it’s known to its longtime customers — is part of the cluster of boutiques and arts-related stores that have blossomed in recent years in White River’s historic district. F.H. Clothing Co.’s Joan Ecker opened her Quechee store 27 years ago, and it continues to operate as the company’s main location.

Gallery Director Dian Park stands at the entrance of the new White River Gallery at The Commons in South Royalton.

White River Gallery opens in South Royalton space

SOUTH ROYALTON – A new gallery has opened near The Green in South Royalton. White River Gallery is exhibiting work regularly in The Commons, a storefront space at 35 South Windsor Street opposite The Green. The Commons is operated by the local group Building a Local Economy, or BALE, as a community resource center devoted to the creation and development of farm, food and local economy initiatives in the upper White River Valley. BALE operates the community space for meetings, educational programs, workshops and classes. A weekly music jam takes place there too.

The Upper Valley Aquatic Center, with its popular pool shown here, is about to undergo a major expansion.

Aquatic center plans expansion

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION – The Upper Valley Aquatic Center has been growing ever since it opened seven years ago, in February 2009. Now, the aquatic center is about to expand its footprint with an 8,000-square-foot addition to meet the different needs and interests of all its clientele. Richard Synnott, the center’s executive director and a 30-year veteran of the fitness industry, said the center was originally conceived as a place for competitive swimming. With an 11-lane, state-of-the-art competition pool, the center has done exactly that. It hosts swim meets for teams from all over New England.