HUB Happenings

Williston teen a finalist in Road Pitch competition

Two groups of high school students showcased their business ideas and entrepreneurial moxie earlier this month after making it to the final round in the third annual Fresh Tracks Road Pitch competition, and one of those bright young minds was Williston’s Nathan Van Buren. The business pitch contest, held at Vermont Technical College’s Randolph campus on Aug. 3, sends business bikers on a four-day motorcycle trip around Vermont to listen to entrepreneurs’ business ideas. Four groups of entrepreneurs and two student groups, made up of teens who recently attended the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont on Entrepreneurship, gave presentations to the riders. The bikers are made up of entrepreneurs, angel investors, proven business advisers, venture capital investors and business academics familiar with start-up and early stage companies, a release by the Vermont Small Business Development Center said. Van Buren  presented with August Unger, from Stowe, an idea called “Biopack,” customizable backpacks tailored to fit individuals’ needs and made entirely from recycled polyester. Riders ask questions after the presentations, and serve to provide advice, contacts and resources to help the potential companies grow and succeed, the release said. For more, visit

Car Consign DSC_0544Car Consign opens

Car Consign, a new automotive service and maintenance shop, opened this month at the corner of Avenue C and Industrial Avenue. Williston resident William Burke, along with his two brothers, renovated the property and will specialize in automotive consignments, according to the company’s website.

Car Consign looks for vehicles for consignment that are less than 10 years old with under 130,000 miles on the odometer, although exceptions are made depending on make, model, condition and resale value. There are no upfront fees: a charge of $149 for the consignment is collected after the sale of the vehicle, along with a commission ranging from 7 to 10 percent, depending on the final sale price. In addition to full auto service, the shop also offers auto detailing, and buys and sell vehicles. For more information, call 399-2756 or visit

Distler’s Pretzels returns, looks to hire

After a brief hiatus, Distler’s Pretzels, the baked-pretzel business that started as a school project, returned to production in late July, according to the company’s Facebook page. The new production facility is at Pastabilities on Williston Road, and is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for purchasing. Since getting the website up to take orders online, the company is also looking to hire staff.

Come work at Pastabilities/Distlers, and you get free lunch every day, an air-conditioned condition and flexible scheduling. We are currently looking for a Jack- or Jill of all trades, 3 to 4 days/week. Experience is not required, but will be considered,” the posting read. For more information, visit Distler’s Pretzels on Facebook or call 598-5513.

Crate Escape, Too MOVES

The Crate Escape, Too opened at 1364 Marshall Ave. on Aug. 12. The dog daycare and overnight boarding services company, owned by Tammy Schey, recently relocated from South Burlington, where it had operated for four years on Shelburne Road. Staff members at the Williston and Richmond locations also offer training, grooming for dogs and cats, and “special one-on-one services,” according to the company’s website. For more information, visit or call 865-DOGS.


Registration is open for UVM’s upcoming Accounting & Finance Career Fair and the Fall Career Fair, the school announced in a release. These events aim to network local companies with students and alumni who are looking for jobs and internships. The accounting and finance fair, hosted with the Grossman School of Business, takes place Sept. 15 from 12-3 p.m. and on-campus interviews will be scheduled throughout the semester. The fall fair, to be held Oct. 19 from 1-5 p.m., will offer on-campus interviewing Oct. 20, but with other dates available. Cost is $300 for for-profit companies, nonprofits and government organizations’ fee is $115. Registration closes when all spots are filled. For more information, call 656-3450.

Hannaford bag program to help CVAA

The Champlain Valley Agency on Aging (CVAA), a nonprofit committed to helping Northwestern Vermonters age well, has been selected as a beneficiary of the Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program. Over the next four months, for every Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag (with the good karma messaging) purchased at the locations and dates listed below, CVAA will receive a $1 donation:

Sept. and Nov. — South Burlington: University Mall

Oct. and Nov.– Williston: 78 Marshall Ave.

Sept. and Oct. – Burlington, 1127 North Ave. #11

CVAA has a goal of raising $1,000 through the Hannaford Helps program, and to use the funds to reduce barriers by increasing access to healthy meals, in-home care and community resources for the aging population. For more information, visit or

HUB Merchants Festival Fools397979Merchants Bank donates $8,000 to Dragonheart Vermont

Merchants Bank donated $8,000 to sponsor the creation of the Athletes Village for the Aug. 7 Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival, the company announced in a release. It was the 11th year of Dragon Boat, in which 1,200 rowers compete after raising funds for local survivors of cancer. “Merchants Bank is overjoyed to have been involved each year,” the release stated, noting that funds raised at the festival stay in Vermont to benefit cancer programs. The company has raised more than $1.65 million since starting the annual festival in 2005, the bank said.

“Dragonheart Vermont is thrilled to have the support of a company like Merchants Bank to put on the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival,” said Linda Dyer, Founder of Dragonheart Vermont and Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival. “Clearly, Merchants Bank is a company that believes in community as much as Dragonheart Vermont does. Paddles Up to Merchants Bank!”

Anita Bourgeois, Senior Vice President at Merchants Bank added, “We are proud of our Merchants Bank team. Over 30 dedicated Merchants Bankers were participating in the Festival supporting friends and neighbors who have had, or are currently battling cancer. We are truly honored to support Dragonheart Vermont so that they can continue providing hope to those who have been touched by cancer.”

Otter Creek Associates opens clinic in Essex

Otter Creek Associates recently announced the opening of a new psychotherapy and wellness practice in the Essex Junction Five Corners area. Otter Creek Associates has served children, adults and families in Vermont for more than 30 years. The new location provides a teaching/learning practice fostering the continuing education of the next generation of clinicians by experienced professionals. “This model of practice is so important because it allows for clinicians from so many different backgrounds, professionally and personally, to come together and learn from one another in order to serve this community to the best of everyone’s ability,” said Cyrus Patten, LICSW, the clinical director in the practice. Clinicians are currently accepting new clients of all age ranges at the Pearl Street location in Essex Junction. For more information call Cyrus Patten at 865-3450.

S.W. COLE Acquires Assets of Great Works Test Boring, Inc.

S. W. Cole Explorations, LLC, a geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing and geoenvironmental services firm with an office in Williston, has acquired the equipment and materials of Great Works Test Boring, Inc. The acquisition is key to the continued success of S.W. Cole, said general manager Kevin Hanscom. “New England currently has a very high demand for drilling services,” said Hanscom, “and this acquisition will allow us to grow our business and further meet the demands of the region.”

Observer courtesy photo  Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power.
Observer courtesy photo
Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power.

GMP president and CEO honored

Green Mountain Power President and CEO Mary Powell was named among the top 25 Most Influential Women of the Mid-Market CEO Connection in 2016. The list recognizes the top 25 women in the U.S. based on their ability to influence change, innovation, and standards for excellence in companies with annual sales between $100 million and $3 billion. GMP hopes trailblazing CEOs like Powell will inspire the next generation of female leaders to break barriers and take chances, according to a company press release. “It is humbling to be among so many bright and thoughtful women who are leading companies with cutting-edge and innovative solutions to meet our toughest challenges,” said Powell. “I hope this list inspires the next wave of female leaders to step up and lead.”

Free environmental workshops for Vt. food and beverage firms

Registration is open for a free workshop being offered to Vermont food and beverage processors and manufacturers who want to be fully compliant with environmental laws. The Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Assistance Office is hosting the “Food for Thought” workshop to accommodate the need for the growing food and beverage industry to access information on environmental compliance in a one-stop shop setting. Experts will be available to directly answer questions. Brewers, specialty food producers and food packaging and bottling plants are encouraged to attend. Workshop dates: Sept. 13 in Rutland and Sept. 15 in St. Albans. Course runs from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Content will focus on common industry challenges with environmental compliance and solutions to accommodate best practices. Participants can meet a panel of state experts and regulators, as well as industry peers. Topics include: Universal Recycling Law (Act 148); wastewater; hazardous waste management; resources for getting help with compliance. A 45-minute midday Webinar will also be held in conjunction on three dates, Aug. 23-25 at 12 p.m. Register at

Keller Williams affiliate wins honor

Hergenrother Realty Group, a division of Hergenrother Enterprises, was named one of America’s Top 1,000 Real Estate professional Teams by Real Trends, according to a company release.

Hergenrother Realty Group, based in Colchester, had 591 transaction sides and $134.9 million in sales volume in 2015, the release stated.

It is the fourth year in a row the company has won the honor. The team is now a member of the “The Thousand Top Real Estate Professionals,” a prestigious national award, the release noted, and they are ranked in the top one half of 1 percent of the more than 1.1 million Realtors nationwide.

According to The Thousand, Hergenrother Realty Group had transaction sides ranking them 33rd in the nation.

“Becoming a member of such an elite group as The Thousand is an incredible accomplishment in any market, but what Hergenrother Realty Group did during these challenging times is impressive on so many levels,” said Marti Gallardo, vice president of classified advertising for The Wall Street Journal. “Their efforts topped 99.99 percent of the more than 1.1 million Realtors nationwide.”

Observer courtesy photo  by Katrina Ploof L to R: Vermont Soap’s attorney, Michael Pollett, Founder/CEO Larry Plesent and Sue Hoxie of the Addison County Chamber of Commerce.
Observer courtesy photo
by Katrina Ploof
L to R: Vermont Soap’s attorney, Michael Pollett, Founder/CEO Larry Plesent and Sue Hoxie of the Addison County Chamber of Commerce.

Vermont soap signs non-GMO pledge

Vermont Soap made history in July as it became the first soap and cosmetic company to pledge support of Act 121, Vermont’s landmark GMO labeling law. Non-food companies are not currently required to label GMO content, but Vermont Soap wanted to show its support for honesty in GMO labeling by signing the Vermont State Affidavit voluntarily. Vermont Soap’s CEO, Larry Plesent, signed a Voluntary Sworn Statement that Vermont Soap’s products are not made or co-mingled with genetically modified materials

The new national GMO law will supersede the tougher Vermont state law, which only pertains to food products sold in Vermont.

Plesent, who started the socially responsible company in Middlebury in 1992 after experiencing severe skin problems from detergents used by his window washing company, said he began researching healthy alternatives for the many people like him that are sensitive to detergents and synthetic ingredients commonly used in personal care products. The company has grown from a two-person operation in 1992 to the largest manufacturer of handmade organic bar soap in North America, selling products in more than 2,500 stores nationwide and factory direct to consumers, a company release said. Its operations was among the first in the U.S. to be certified as a USDA organic processing facility specializing in topical products, they said.