From left, Andrew Leichthammer and Scott Kerner recently opened Good Measure Brewing Co. in Northfield.

Entrepreneurs open Good Measure Brewing

NORTHFIELD — “Vermont is the best state for beer in the union,” Scott Kerner said. “The amount of tourists that pour into our state each year is one barometer for the strength of this industry. The brand is strong, and the community is stronger.”
Kerner should know. After he moved to Vermont from Oregon — where he worked for that state’s oldest microbrewery, Bridgeport Brewing Co. — he helped open three beer-focused restaurants: Three Penny Taproom, The Mad Taco and Mule Bar.

A wide range of vintage toys pack the shelves at Rutland Toy and Hobby.

Vintage toy shop fills niche

RUTLAND — A local family recently opened Rutland Toy and Hobby at 158 North Main Street, filling the niche that the former store Mike’s Hobbies filled for many years. In fact, 158 North Main now has two businesses selling treasures from decades past, with the recent opening of the vinyl record shop Rick and Kat’s Howlin’ Mouse in the former Mike’s Hobbies space next door to the city’s newest toy store. Rutland Toy and Hobby is owned by the father-and-son team of Wayne Thornton Sr. and Jr., and Thornton Jr.’s mother Denise handles the bookkeeping and also helps in the store. Thornton Jr., who is 25 years old, said he has expertise in toys and comics from the 1990s and early 2000s, and all manner of video games, and his dad’s specialties are toys from the 1970s and 1980s, along with cars, trains and remote-control toys. Together, that’s a wide range of expertise that makes the key attribute of the new business possible: diversity.

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.

Owner Hiata DeFeo poses for a photo at Bridgeside Home’s grand opening on Sept. 29 in Waterbury.

Bookstore owner launches new business

WATERBURY — Hiata DeFeo has a right to be happy. After seven years of offering Waterbury residents a welcoming, community-focused space at her Stowe Street store, Bridgeside Books, DeFeo has turned another one of her passions into a retail business.

Sean Manovill is the owner of Club Fitness in Rutland, opening this fall.

Vt. native to open Rutland gym

RUTLAND – After working with fitness clients throughout the U.S., Bomoseen native Sean Manovill has returned to Rutland County to open Club Fitness, a health and wellness center set to open in October. Manovill, 35, said his new business, to be located at 275 North Main St. in Rutland, will be focused on helping people live better lives by improving their fitness. “We want to focus on real results,” he said. “We’re not a gimmick gym.”

Manovill said his two top-priorities for his gym are cleanliness and customer service.

Jarvis Antonio Green has launched the new theater company, JAG Productions.

Theater venture has big cultural goals

Director and actor Jarvis Antonio Green recently began a new theater company, JAG Productions, in a partnership with ArtisTree Community Arts Center in Pomfret, which he hopes will foster more cultural awareness in the region through the uniquely deep and moving perspectives that theater brings into our lives.

From left, Dan, Joyce and David Fitzgerald are planning a new brewery and brewpub in St. Albans Town.

New brewery coming to St. Albans

ST. ALBANS — A good buzz is growing here over the recent announcement that another local beer and brewpub will emerge from Franklin County later this year. Mill River Brewing, a veteran- and woman-owned establishment, is on track to open in December at the former Hands On Car Wash site, on the corner of Lake Road and Beauregard Drive in St. Albans Town. Brothers and co-owners George “Dan” and David Fitzgerald, along with third owner Joyce Fitzgerald, David’s wife, hope to close on the 3,200-square-foot building at the end of July.

Merrill Hersey stands with his dog, Sadie, at his new store in St. Albans.

Home brew supply store opens

ST. ALBANS — When Merrill Hersey needed a logo for his new home brew supply store in downtown St. Albans, his girlfriend’s coworker drew one freehand, in 30 minutes. Now, the image of the “Bearded Expert,” which bears a striking resemblance to Hersey — especially the “bearded” part — is featured on the Web site and other marketing materials for his business, Open Barrel, located at 118 North Main St. Hersey, 33, of Richford, launched Open Barrel to rave reviews in April, during Vermont Maple Festival in St.

Stephen and Allison Willoughby arrange a table-top display at Kindred Spirit, their new store in Rutland.

Home furnishings store opens in Rutland

RUTLAND — A husband-and-wife team, drawn to the downtown by Rutland’s revitalization, recently opened a home furnishings store on Merchants Row. Stephen and Allison Willoughby opened Kindred Spirit last month at 53 Merchants Row, with an emphasis on contemporary, modern furniture. Lamps and other home items are also offered in various styles. “We think of ourselves as an alternative home store,” Stephen Willoughby said, with an eye toward “eclectic, hard-to-find items.”

He also has access to over 43,000 items he can order, and if it’s in stock, Willoughby said, it’s guaranteed to ship within 48 hours. He noted that several items in the shop are cheaper than the online prices of the big-box retailers — something Kindred Spirit can afford since its overhead costs are so low, he said.