By Rosalyn Graham
An enthusiastic crowd gathered in the Shelburne Green South building last Wednesday evening for a mixer hosted by Shelburne Business and Professional Association (SBPA). It was a time for networking, sociability, behind-the-scenes information, and a chance to learn about the benefits of belonging to Shelburne’s Chamber of Commerce.
SBPA President Tod Whitaker welcomed 60-plus local business people and encouraged those who were not already members of the business association to consider membership. He enumerated the benefits, including visibility on the SBPAVT.org website; partnership in a number of high-profile, promotional, SBPA-sponsored programs; inclusion in the listing on the widely-distributed rack card; and access to Lake Champlain Regional Chamber programs through a new “strategic partnership.”
Developer and architect Graham Goldsmith previewed the southern gateway to Shelburne on Route 7. Graham is transforming the former Shelburne Industries building into an attractive complex with a variety of purposes.
Goldsmith said that when they bought the former Barrecrafters building, they recognized that Shelburne needed a critical mass of office space, and they rebuilt the building, preserving its metal skeleton, to Silver LEED specifications. Eating Well became its anchor business and much of the rest of the space has been filled with value-added, agriculturally-related businesses. Goldsmith is currently looking toward a further project on the remaining 20.7 acres, preserving green space and the majestic old maple trees, and building custom turn-key space for direct marketing clients, probably with a series of classic farm-like buildings in 5,000- to 10,000-square-foot modules.
Elizabeth Cullen, a marketing specialist, along with Macy Mullican and Steve Justis, has been helping to find the entrepreneurs that will establish their businesses in the Shelburne Green South complex. The focus has been on culinary and agricultural businesses, and she encouraged anyone interested to contact them.
The plan for the new Shelburne “gateway,” with its agricultural focus, prompted Vera Simon-Nobes of Shelburne Farms to say, “The economic development of producers, artisans, and entrepreneurs is at the heart of this space. In addition to growing opportunities for small Vermont producers, this is a wonderful chance to advance consumer education around food and agriculture.”
Lara Keenan, director of Shelburne’s Pierson Library, encouraged local businesses to connect to the library as a valuable resource for finding essential information and as a means for connecting to the community. “We are seeing local people excited about sharing their passions with their neighbors, and you, as business people, could be bringing your expertise to the community through the library,” she said. “We can match our resources to your needs.”
The SBPA mixer was an opportunity for Shelburne businesses to learn more about the businesses that are already in the complex. Larry Sommers of Eating Well led a tour of its offices, and Graham Goldsmith led a tour to meet Jed Davis at Guild Fine Meats, Ron Elliot from Smugglers’ Notch Distillery, Suzy Hodgson from yourfarmstand.com, Troy Griffis from Awake Coffee, Evan Webster from Evan Webster INK, and Elizabeth Archangeli from Cricket Radio.
The mixer also featured a wine tasting thanks to Ken Albert of Shelburne Vineyard, tastings from Smugglers’ Notch Distillery, charcuterie from Guild Fine Meats, and flatbreads from Folino’s.
For information about Shelburne Business and Professional Association, visit www.SBPAVT.org.