Back in 1992, the Brandon business community looked and felt very different than it does today. The Brandon Training School was closing. We had one hometown bank and a branch of a Rutland-based bank. We had two small supermarkets and quite a bit of needy and vacant real estate in downtown. There were a number of thriving manufacturers scattered around. The Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) had hired its first paid part-time Executive Director about five years earlier and the organization had about 75 members. I became BACC's second Executive Director and took over the activities and projects that were in place. We ran the little information booth that had been in front of the library, we flipped hot dogs at the July 4th parade, put up leaf people in the fall, held a few social mixers throughout the year, sold memory tree bulbs and lit the tree, and the Great Brandon Auction was four years old.

In the two decades that followed, Brandon's business community changed enormously. The Brandon Training School closed. Manufacturers left town. Two small supermarkets turned in to one. One pharmacy turned in to two (and then back to one). The most dilapidated downtown buildings came down or were revitalized, all with private investment funds. The hometown bank was bought out and that opened the door for two other financial institutions to set up branches. The arts brought in newcomers while art galleries and studios proliferated.
Through it all, the Chamber grew. I grew in the job. We grew together. Membership in the organization more than doubled. We secured a top-notch web domain: www.brandon.org and created a very popular website. We created a yard sale day and a make-your-own-leaf-person day. We organized free summer concerts in the parks. We continued the auction, which just celebrated its 25th year (and has turned more than $170,000 back into the community). We created a 21st century museum and visitor center in a renovated 19th century historic home. We started to publish an e-newsletter 30-40 times a year which now goes to approximately 1400 email addresses. We established moonlight madness, two popular feel-good nights to show our local businesses how much we like them. We honor an OVUHS graduate every year with a scholarship award, donate to Brandon's Toy Project, and cook dinner for the seniors. We still flip hot dogs (plus more) at the parade and we still grace the park with lighting the memory tree. We honor a prominent business (or two) at our annual meeting. We sponsor public forums during election seasons. We have printed and sold more than $50,000 worth of Brandon Bucks certificates, which is a popular gift item.
We share community news both far and near. We promote our businesses at the annual Rutland Trade Show. We've advertised on WCAX-TV and sponsored on VPR.  We send two events fliers each year to every mailbox in Brandon and surrounding communities promoting the area's seasonal events. We print and give away for free a terrific area map & guide, a lure brochure, and an historic walking tour and stock them at state welcome centers. We remind everyone about local events via the signboard at the bus stop. We gave away an entire wedding.

As I write and reflect on my 21 years as Brandon Chamber Executive Director, there is one recurring theme in my mind: "Community." The Chamber Board of Directors amended their bylaws this year to add the words "community enhancement" to our Purpose, which reads as this: "The Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce, Inc. shall be dedicated to the improvement and advancement of a positive and dynamic economic, industrial, professional, and business climate and community enhancement in the Brandon Area." Yes, BACC is very definitely a chamber of commerce. The organization is dedicated to the business community. But one thing I realized long ago as I was growing in the job: This little town without an interstate, with aging roads and bridges, and with only one part-time chamber administrator, was probably not going to be able to attract a new big manufacturer or employer. No, we were going to have to find other ways to get people to move here. And to stay here. And maybe relocate a business here, or start a new one. We were going to have to affect the quality of life, enhance the community. I hope the many activities and events added to the chamber's resume over the years do just that.

That leads me to my last point. This essay is not a reflection of "me." It is about "you." This community has incredible power and strength: Volunteerism. Membership. Donors. Sponsorships. Caring Residents. In this day and age, small organizations have to rely on local folks in order to survive. There are no grants, foundations, or sugar daddies waiting to sprinkle us with green. Two long-time Brandon non-profit organizations folded in 2013 because of lack of members. The Brandon Chamber is stronger than ever, but every single activity, program and event we have our hands in comes to fruition because of YOU. Are you a Chamber member? Maybe you bought a bulb for the memory tree. Perhaps you donated to the auction and you came to bid and buy. Or maybe you held a yard sale. You might be a Brandon Museum volunteer. You shopped during Moonlight Madness. Or maybe you bought a raffle ticket for the Chamber's scholarship fund or a hot dog at our Parade stand. And most of all, perhaps you expressed your thoughts and ideas for an even better community.

The Brandon Chamber has several membership categories. If you don't have a business, you may join the Chamber as an "Individual". We have a long list of people (or couples) in this category, who join because they like what we do. They support us with a $50 annual membership (and get invited to our popular social mixers). The Small Business category, for businesses with up to ten employees, costs just $165 a year -- that's under $14 a month. There is also a large business category for our powerhouses! Membership is a way to help keep the organization afloat and to invest in our community. And besides, it gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling, knowing that so many of you appreciate us.

We have records of a Brandon chamber of commerce or merchants association going back at least 100 years. With the continued strength of the organization, this community, and you, I'm sure it will keep going for at least another 100. I pass the torch to Bernie Carr on January 1. My humble thanks and appreciation to all of you who have helped me grow and who have impacted the Chamber during my tenure.

Janet Mondlak, Former BACC Executive Director



Chamber Annual Dinner

January 24, 2014




The Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the election of one new Director to their Board. Stacey Doucette of the Brandon Motor Lodge was recently elected for a three year term. Officers for the coming year have not changed. President Liz Gregorek of Omya, Inc., Vice President Wendy Bizzarro of Heritage Family Credit Union, Treasurer Sam Glaser and Secretary Nancy Leary of Nancy Leary Design were all re-elected to continue serving in their roles. Chamber Executive Director Janet Mondlak is stepping down at the end of 2013 and Brandon resident Bernie Carr will take over that position. For more information, contact the Chamber at 802-247-6401 or info@brandon.org.




Lucky Bill Thompson of Brandon, winner of $100 in Brandon Bucks. Thanks to Bill and everyone else who shopped in Brandon during Moonlight Madness!



Ferne and Lou Faivre

Individual Members


Swan and Stone Millinery
Samantha Stone & Nora Swan 

29 Union St., Brandon  ~  802-318-6853



Membership Categories: Artists; Clothing; Fiber Processing; Needles; on-line Store



Larry Gold of Computer E-Z for all his fine work and donations for the computer at the Stephen A Douglas Birthplace. Much appreciated!


The Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors will next meet on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 at 6:30 pm in the Cliver Room at the Stephen A Douglas Birthplace. Chamber membership and the general public are invited to attend.



Tuesday December 31st, 2013, 5pm-10pm
Maine Lobster Bisque with Saffron Aioli
Garlic & Asiago cheese crostini
Carrot, Pear and Ginger Soup
With maple yogurt drizzle

Glazed Oyster Rockefeller
On rock salt & Mousseline sauce
Caesar Salad and Smoked Salmon
In a crispy cheese cup, red onions& toasted capers
Baked Brie Wrapped in Puff Pastry
Mesclun greens & lemon vinaigrette with essence of balsamic vinegar
Country Pate and Chicken Liver Mousse
Cranberry chutney, baby spinach & maple balsamic & bacon vinaigrette

Filet of Beef Wellington
Caramelized onion & horseradish mashed potatoes & Bordelaise sauce
Fennel Crusted Diver Scallops
On butternut squash risotto & lobster Szechuan sauce
Housemade Ricotta Cavatelli with Truffled Beurre Blanc
Sauteed wild mushrooms, shallots, spinach & garlic
Braised Veal Cheeks
With coconut curried lentils & celeriac puree

Warm Lava Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Sauce and Raspberry Mousse
Crepe Suzette with Orange Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream

Coffee, Tea and Mignardises

$63/person (not including taxes & gratuity)
Call 802-247-9997 for reservations



Call to Artists: Winter Art Mart


 The Compass Music and Arts Center is currently accepting work for their Winter Art Mart, to be held from January 15 through March 31, 2014. The Winter Art Mart is an artisan marketplace, giving an opportunity for artists to show and sell their 2 and 3-dimensional works of art in any medium. All types will be accepted, including pottery, jewelry, paintings, photographs, fiber work, and more. Works featuring winter scenes in Vermont are encouraged.


There is no jury. All work is accepted if it fits the following criteria:


  • Two-dimensional works can be displayed within a wall space of 8'H x 5'W.  The works must be framed and wired, ready to hang and come with labels stating the Artist, Title, Medium and Price.
  • Smaller 2 and 3-dimensional work can be displayed in an overall floor space of 40 square feet.  All display accessories (tables, pedestals, cabinets, racks, etc) must be supplied by the artist. Each piece must be labeled with the artist's Name, Title (if appropriate), Medium, and Price.

The commission rate is 35% with an entrance fee of $50 per display space.  The fee is offset by the commission of sold work. Should there be no sales, the fee would stand.


Space is limited. All artwork must be delivered by Sunday, Jan. 12th along with a completed submission form, which can be found at www.cmacvt.org. Contact Edna at 802-247-4295 or info@cmacvt.org to schedule a delivery or for more information.


Compass Music and Arts Center is open seven days a week from 10-5pm and is located at 333 Jones Dr. Brandon VT, 05733.  




Calling all Crafters, Artists, & Music Enthusiasts


Have a bunch of art and craft supplies lying around collecting dust? Sell them at the Compass Music and Arts Center's yard sale and turn them into cash. Are you a music enthusiast with items to sell? Compass's music swap is for you. Over the course of the winter months, Compass Music and Arts Center is offering a chance to buy and sell craft and art supplies, plus everything music based at one of the following events. Contact Edna at 802-247-4295 or info@cmacvt.org to reserve your spot or with questions. 


Crafters Repurposing Yard Sale  -  January 25, 10-4pm


Calling all Crafters:  Do you have unfinished projects, maybe unfinished quilts, tapestries, garments, unopened project packages or even left over or unused yarns, fabrics, buttons that could be reinvigorated, revamped or repurposed to create something remarkable by someone else?  Maybe you have patterns or even a sewing machine in good working condition that could be used by someone else.  If so, sell them at our indoor, and fully heated, Crafters Repurposing Yard Sale on Saturday, January 25th and make some cash.  You will receive a 6'x6' selling space to set up your wares for a flat fee of $30 per space.  No commission is taken so price your items to sell.


Deadline to respond:  Thursday, January 23rd or until all spots are filled.  Payment must be made at time of booking by debit or credit card.  Sorry no refund available but there is a snow date of Saturday, February 1st.


Artist Supply Yard Sale  -  February 22, 10-4pm


Calling all Artists: Do you have unwanted art supplies and materials, or found objects that could be used creatively or repurposed by someone else? Sell them at our indoor Artist Supply Yard sale on Saturday, February 22nd and turn unwanted supplies into cash. You will receive a 6'x6 'selling space to set up your wares for a flat fee of $30 per space.  No commission is taken so price your items to sell. 


Deadline to respond:  Thursday, February 20th or until all spots are filled.  Payment must be made at time of booking by debit or credit card.  Sorry no refund available but there is a snow date of Saturday, March 1st.


Music Swap Meet  -  March 29, 10-4pm


Calling all Music Enthusiasts: This is a great opportunity for record collectors and enthusiasts, audio fanatics and musicians of all types of music to sell, swap and barter vinyl records, CDs, 78s, piano rolls, tapes, audio equipment, phonographs, radios, musical instruments and ephemera. Sell them at our indoor Music Swap Meet on Saturday, March 29th. You will receive a 6'x6' selling space to set up your wares for a flat fee of $45 per space for the two day event.  A maximum of 3 spaces can be reserved by individual sellers. No commission is taken so price your items to sell. 


Deadline to respond:  Thursday, March 27th or until all spots are filled.  Payment must be made at time of booking by debit or credit card.  Sorry no refunds available.



Compass Music and Arts Center is open seven days a week from 10-5pm and is located at 333 Jones Dr. Brandon VT, 05733.







   A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships, nurturing Vermont's gifted youth.

A course for parents and teachers offered in 2014.


We have all met children whose intellect and ability to question leave us in awe. These children deserve services that assist their highly abled minds to continue to grow both in and outside the classroom. With this in mind, Trevor Tebbs, PHD, Carol Story, PHD, several other educators and parents representing schools in central Vermont, the Castleton Center for Schools, the Vermont Council for Gifted Education (VCGE) and the Chaffee Art Center are pleased to announce a course entitled, "A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships." The course is open to parents, teachers, special educators, administrators, guidance counselors, school psychologists and psychologists. It is designed to raise awareness of Vermont's highly able and creative students ages five to eighteen and to learn about strategies for helping them succeed.


The course will take place over a ten month period from February 7th to November 14th to allow for group lectures and discussions, independent studies and final presentations.

Lectures will be given on a wide range of topics with most identifying current STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education goals. The course structure is flexible to adapt to a group of 10 or up to 75 participants; group lecture locations, dates and times will be determined by enrollment.


There are three levels of enrollment:


Tier One - Credit - three-credit course for educators and others needing continuing education credit- $1450


Tier Two - Audit - intended for non- teaching participants -$900


Tier Three - Selected Participation - participants are entitled to attend up to 20 hours of scheduled events throughout the year. $400


Scholarships: By way of generosity of an anonymous donor and the Vermont Council for Gifted Education, a limited number of scholarships are available for Tier Two and Three participants.


For registration information and assistance contact: 
Sandra Skeens 
802-468-1456, fax: 802-468-6086  





Not very long ago, Brandon had the distinction of staging the largest Independence Day parade in Vermont.  More recently, that mantle seems to be have been taken up by one our neighboring towns to the north.  Well, we here in Brandon would like - very much - to get it back!  But it takes a lot of coordination and effort by a whole lot of dedicated folks to create the largest parade of its kind in Vermont.  We know - we've done it.  We can do it again - with your help.  Are you up for the challenge?


If so, roll up your sleeves and bring your creative minds to the next Brandon Independence Day Celebration Committee (BIDCC) meeting at the Stephen Douglas house (4 Grove Street, Brandon, VT) at 7 pm., January 15th, and/or consider volunteering for one of these vital roles:    

Vendor support:

  • July 4th -- Street Dance - 5 pm to 9 pm
  • July 5th - 9 am to 3 pm
  • July 5th -- Park Village - 4 pm to 9 pm

Parade send-off support-11 am to 2 pm  

Parade traffic support-11 am to 1:30 pm  

Silent Auction support -- July 5th -- 9:30 am to 5 pm  

Fireworks donation collectors -- 5pm to 9pm

Family activities support:

  • 10 am to 12:30 pm (behind the Brandon Inn)
  •  5 pm to 8 pm at Park Village.

Fireworks vendor coordinator (someone to train with current coordinator to take over in Dec. 2014 for the 2015 event)  

Treasurer (someone to shadow our current treasurer to take over July 2014  

Traffic support -- 10:30 am to 1:30 pm  

Sales support  for the ball race  

Signage support  

Three Judges for the parade, 12:45pm - 2:00 pm  

American Flag Display on street poles - Team Leader and support for May 2014 and removal after Labor Day.  

Support to maintain/replace the flags from May to September as needed.  

Lead coordinator for neighborhood floats division (Last year a division for neighborhood floats was created and we've kept it in this year's parade as well.)  We're hoping for an entry from each neighborhood to compete for the special trophy. 


We will also need assistance acquiring:


  • Access to walkie-talkies for July 5th.
  • 5 Golf Carts for July 5th

Please make note of our meeting dates (3rd Wednesday of the month) and plan on joining us at 7 p.m. at the Stephen Douglas house.  The theme for this year's celebration is "Brandon Rocks On".  We're looking forward to your participation and ideas:           

January 15th

February 12th

March 19th


You do not need to be a resident of Brandon to be on the BIDCC!

If you would like more information, please contact Debbie Boyce, Chairperson: 

Phone 802-345-0056

Email BIDCC@yahoo.com 


Heliand Consort at Brandon Music


Caitlin Canty Performs at Brandon Music

Brandon Music welcomes back Caitlin Canty for a special performance on Saturday, January 4th. This show will be special for a couple of reasons.  For the first time in Vermont, Canty will be backed by the ambidextrous Matt Lorenz, a one-man-band and fellow Vermonter who simultaneously plays the guitar, percussion, violin, and harmonies.  Together, they have been writing songs and playing shows together for years, but this is the first time they've brought their show to Vermont.


Canty will also debut songs from a new album, just recorded, also featuring Lorenz. The album was produced by Jeffrey Foucault and is to be released in the spring. Raised in Vermont and now based in NYC, singer/songwriter Caitlin Canty's sophomore album Golden Hour was a fan-funded album and blends her folk roots with a Western tone and an alt-country flavor. Canty collaborates with several bands, including Darlingside, a string rock band, and serves as one half of the duo Down Like Silver with Peter Bradley Adams, which released its debut EP in 2011. Caitlin has independently released several EPs including Neon Streets (2010) and the full-length album, Green (2007), which she recorded and mixed in her home studio.


Matt Lorenz is part of the roots-rock/junk-folk trio Rusty Belle as well as the one-man-band Suitcase Junket.  He will accompany Caitlin on guitars, fiddle, banjo and percussion. 


The performance begins at 7:30pm. General admission is $15 with a pre-concert dinner also available for $15.  Reservations are required for dinner and highly encouraged for the show as Canty has sold out in past performances. Venue is BYOB.  Call (802)465-4071 or e-mail info@brandon-music.net  for reservations or information. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Rd. Brandon, VT 05733. www.brandon-music.net www.caitlincanty.com




Swim Team's Jazz comes to Brandon Music 


Playing pop- and indie-inspired jazz music, the New York City based group called Swim Team, comes to Brandon Music on Saturday, January 11 at 7:30pm.



Swim Team is a collective quartet featuring four Boston-area natives: brothers Casey (saxophone) and Elliot Berman (bass), Mike Sink (piano), and Tim Merle (drums). After playing for almost six years now, Swim Team has developed an organic and unique aesthetic and a rare chemistry for a group of such a young age. Above all else, Swim Team is current, fusing elements of the New York jazz scene and studio techniques and sensibilities to create music that has structure and punch, but keeps an in-the-moment spark.


General admission is $15 with a pre-concert dinner also available for $15.  Reservations are required for dinner and recommended for the show. Venue is BYOB.  Call (802)465-4071 or e-mail info@brandon-music.net  for reservations or information. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Rd. Brandon, VT 05733. www.brandon-music.net http://swimteammusic.com/




Next ServSafe® Certification  or Re-Certification Sessions


Held at Café Provence Culinary Theater, 17 Center Street, Brandon:


January 14 at Café Provence Culinary Theater


January 21 Corporate style Retreat session includes beverages, snacks, lunch, token gift certificate.


February 11 at Café Provence Culinary Theater


February 18 Corporate style Retreat session includes beverages, snacks, lunch, token gift certificate.


HACCP Certification and Re-Certification will be available in February or March

Information regarding HACCP or new Retreat sessions available on web site


Sessions conveniently tailored to accommodate classes at your business site or preferred location.

Enjoy the season


Training to Excel

Food Safety and Food Protection Courses


Norm Milot

Certified ServSafe® Instructor and Registered Proctor

www.trainingtoexcel.com  ~  802-247-0098 




Front Porch Forum Now Active in Brandon


Brandon's Front Porch Forum is now active with over 100 people signed on as local members. Neighbors have already posted about a missing dog on Florence Road, a grill for sale on Sunset Drive, and town recreation department news. This modern-day cross between community bulletin boards and virtual town greens is making it easy for neighbors to connect. It's free. It's local. And it's friendly.


Visit FrontPorchForum.com to join in.


Because the service is moderated and real names accompany postings, the discussions remain civil, engaging, and relevant. In times of need, such as during and following natural disasters, a Front Porch Forum becomes even more powerful.


More than 60,000 households across Vermont already use their neighborhood FPFs to find roofers, give away strollers, rally volunteers for pie suppers, trade equipment, and describe wildlife sightings. Common topics also include school budgets, town office candidates, local events or starting a food shelf.


FPF and the Vermont Council on Rural Development's Vermont Digital Economy Project are teaming up to bring this service to all Vermonters for free. Vermont's Congressional delegation played a crucial role in getting this project funded and off the ground in our state.


 Get your head INTO the cloud - for FREE! 

 Join us for this important business workshop: 
Cloud Computing
Wednesday, January 8th, 8:30 - 10:00am
Ilsley Public Library, 75 Main St., Middlebury.
An introduction to Cloud Computing; how it can benefit any size business, and how this technology can be used to bolster your online presence, protect sensitive documents and increase office productivity.

Participants will be introduced to various cloud based platforms, associated costs, and the impact of having access to all your applications and data from all your devices.

 FREE, please pre-register
Look below for info about the entire Workshop Series.
Click here for more info, or register online. 
We'll see you there!
Robin Scheu                  Steve Paddock
             Executive Director             Agribusiness Program Director
ACEDC                      VtSBDC




·         Easy to register

·         Report outages and get updates about your outage right from your cell phone


Good afternoon!


Thanks to more than 100 GMP employees who have already registered for our new GMP Text Alerts during the past two weeks, we've been able to identify and fix some glitches.


Now we'd like to expand the pool of testers.  If you haven't already registered, we encourage you to do so. Your involvement will be key to helping us better prepare before the next big storm hits. We'd also like you to invite your family and friends to register for Text Alerts.


To let your family and friends in the GMP service territory know about this opportunity, please forward this email:


In January 2014, Green Mountain Power will be launching a new service that will allow customers to report outages and get updates about their outages on their cell phones.


Before we announce the service statewide, we're inviting employees, their families and friends to test drive the system. It will be a great service for you and your family, and you can help us find and fix any bugs before thousands of our customers sign up.


If you are a GMP customer there are two ways you can sign up for alerts.  First, grab your bill, which has your account number and the associated phone number, and then do one of the following:

·         Use your cell phone to text the word REG to 46788 (GMPVT) and follow the prompts. You do not need a smart phone to sign up for text alerts.  All you need is a cell phone with the ability to send and receive text messages.  Note that standard text and messaging rates will apply.

·         If you already have an online account with GMP, you can log in and click "Manage notification preferences"

Once you're using the service, we'd like to hear about your experience.  This will help us fix any problems, and add information to our FAQs. Please contact a GMP call center representative at 1-888-835-4672 with your questions, suggestions and comments.



Dorothy Schnure

Corporate Spokesperson


scroll down to the bottom of this email and check them out!







 The list is growing as is the number of cards in members' (including employees) hands. Here's the list to date.  

It is super easy to add your offering to the list. Just give a call (802-247-6401) or send an email (info@brandon.org).  


Not a Chamber member but want to get in on the Biz Card action? We have many Individual Members -- what a great way to support a local non-profit and get your Biz Card! Just click here for an application ($50 annual membership)  


Do you enjoy receiving the e-newsletters from the Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce? Its easy to sign up your co-workers, friends, and family members who are not currently receiving it.
Just click here 



Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 267, Brandon, VT 05733
802-247-6401 ~  info@brandon.org   ~   www.brandon.org