February 2016
Chamber Newsletter

The opening reception is Feb. 5, 5 to 7 pm

 The Brandon Artists Guild is proud to present fine art made by our local students. The show will be on display from Feb. 5 to Feb. 29. Grades K to 12 will be represented from the following schools: Barstow Memorial School, Leicester Central School, Neshobe School, Otter Valley High and Middle School, Proctor Elementary School, Sudbury Country School, and Whiting Elementary School.

Equally dynamic at all grade levels, the work will delight you with its lively and fresh energy. The exhibition is a tribute to their talented teachers as well, whose lessons focus on art history, presenting to students work by artists such as W. Kandinsky, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, Gustav Klimt, GeorgeSeurat, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent Van Gogh, to name just a few. They explore the creative process through many materials and techniques. They are encouraged to go outside their comfort zone and to "do what you love and enjoy it", said Neshobe School art teacher John Brodowski..
The Brandon Artists Guild is at 7 Center St. Brandon, VT.
Temporary Winter Hours:
Tues - Fri, 12 - 5pm, Sat 10 - 5pm, Sun 12 - 4pm (winter hours).


Exciting new membership opportunities! 


With the new year, Village Spa would like to thank our wonderful customers for making our first year in our new location a huge success.

We have grown in many ways and welcome you to join us as we continue this journey.  In this next year you will find a new membership addition to the spa.  It's a great way for you spa goers or wanna-be spa goers to gift yourself some "me" time.

We have 2 options available:  click here for all the exciting details!!
          32 Marble St.                802-465-8255         brandonvillagespa.com

-Brandon Chamber Members-
ServSafe information from
Training to Excel Brandon, Vermont
Norm Milot

I have a one day ServSafe® Certification Training session scheduled on Tuesday February 9th should you have interest sending professional team members to attend.
Class will be at the Brandon library if less than seven and commence at 8:30am until 4:30+/-
If greater than six participants, class will be at the Café Provence private dining room commencing at 8:00am and finished by 4:30pm+/-
A second one day ServSafe® Certification Training class is scheduled on Saturday February 20th, that's right a convenient session finally held on a Saturday for professional food service and retail team members.
Class will be held at the Café Provence street level private dining room from 8:00am until 4-4:30pm +/-
Contact Norm at 802.247.0098 and answered as Rosebelle's Inn and Training to Excel or email info@trainingtoexcel.com
Both sessions have an attractive fee, call for details
Starting the New Year off with a bang

Training to Excel, Norm Milot
Certified ServSafe® and HACCP Instructor and Registered Proctor

2016 Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce Presidents Award
Annual Dinner well attended at Brandon Inn

The Brandon Chamber 2016 annual dinner was held at the Brandon Inn. Louis and Sarah and staff served a delicious meal and outgoing board members Brian Coolidge, Sam Glaser, Courtney Satz and Joan Rowe were recognized for their many yeas of service. Special thanks to Sam for his duties as treasurer! New President Wendy Bizzarro looked ahead and outlined our goals for 2016, Director Gary Meffe presented the Gateways of Brandon project and outgoing President Liz Gregorek took a look back at 2015 and was presented a plaque for her 3 years of service as the head of the Chamber.

Liz also presented the President's award which recognizes a business and individual(s) for their contributions and commitment to Brandon. For over 20 years the Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce President has, with great pleasure and pride, presented this award.
Liz awarded this prestigious award to Beth and Bernie Carr of Carr's Florist and Gifts. "Beth and Bernie have sustained a Brandon retail business for over 35 years and have provided a full service flower and gift shop. They, along with their dedicated employees, provide fantastic customer service, maintain a lot of the gifts you continue to enjoy, change and add trendy gifts, and can always be relied upon to have a beautiful arrangement of flowers.
Bernie and Beth's shop could be recognized as a "mecca" for town business to be discussed and for social issues to be shared amongst friends. Beth and Bernie, both, are quite involved with Brandon, from the town library, Brandon Festival Singers and St Mary's Church to attending select board meetings, just to name a few.
We thank Beth and Bernie for their perseverance, creativity, ability to know so many people, and find how to move issues and ideas forward...Brandon would not be where we are today without the two of you!"
   Being presented this award was such a very great honor. We have loved doing business in our little town for the past 38 years and interacting on a day to day basis with all our friends and neighbors. We are honored to be a part of the joy, sadness and everyday events that make up all of our lives. We thank the folks in town who have supported us these many years, our family & friends who've done so much for soooo little, our past employees, current employees Carol LaBrecque our sister, our Mom, Yvonne and especially Terrie Patch who's there by our side day in and day out.
   The only reason we've been able to stay in business and have enjoyed it all these years is people! So we really have to say thank you to all of YOU!
Beth & Bernie

The Woedoggies make their debut at Brandon Music
February 13 at 7:30

The Woedoggies have an eclectic sound firmly rooted in classic country, blues and Americana. With an arsenal of originals and an extensive repertoire of classic country, blues, and folk covers, the Woedoggies mix tight three-part harmonies with expert musicianship and strong songwriting to discover new horizons of the acoustic Americana sound. The Woedoggies make their debut at Brandon Music on February 13 at 7:30.
Based in northern Vermont, the Woedoggies consist of Vermont music veterans Peter Riley on bass and vocals (Breakaway and The X-Rays), Rudy Dauth on lead guitar and vocals (Pulse Prophets) and Wylie Shipman on rhythm guitar, harmonica and vocals.
The band's first record 'Sorrytown' reflects their wide-ranging influences from bluegrass to classic country to loud, growling blues. Liz Cantrell, of Seven Days, points out how contemporary country bands are so influenced by pop and rock music and therefore it can be difficult to find the real twang of old acoustic country music. Luckily, she says, 'Sorrytown' "offers some honky tonk relief" and explains that Woedoggies is "a group of older crooners who eschew the flash of modern styles in favor of classic, acoustic country and light bluegrass." The album was produced by Jared Slomoff (Mike Gordon, Phish) and featuring Russ Lawton on drums, captures the raw energy and dynamic range of a live Woedoggies performance.
This event celebrates Vermont Arts 2016, in celebration of public funding for the arts.

Concert tickets are $20.  A pre-concert dinner is also available for $20.  Reservations are required for dinner and recommended for the show. Venue is BYOB. Call (802) 247-4295 or e-mail
info@brandon-music.net for reservations or for more information.  Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Rd. Brandon, VT 05733 www.brandon-music.net

Zephyr performs at
Brandon Music
February 27 at 7:30pm

Zephyr is an Addison County based quartet whose music has been mined in the general vein of roots Americana - a harmony-rich lyric-oriented primarily acoustic style of music bringing together influences of folk, bluegrass, blues, gospel, country and the singer-songwriter tradition. They play a mix of unique originals interspersed with occasional covers by songwriters such as Buddy and Julie Miller, Gillian Welch, Mark Heard, Bruce Cockburn, and 
T Bone Burnett. Don't miss them at Brandon Music on February 27 at 7:30pm.
The band features Susan Nop on keyboard, accordion, and lead vocals, Matthew Dickerson on guitar, bass, harmonica, mandolin, and vocals, Kathleen Smith on vocals and percussion, and Dutton Smith on violin, bass, percussion, and vocals. After a recent Zephyr performance, Chris MacIntosh of 88.1FM in New York said he was left with a feeling that "I just bathed in a cool mountain-fed spring." He says they are "refreshing and exhilarating at the same time, if you have a chance to see them do not pass the opportunity by!!!"

Matthew Dickerson and Susan Nop are the songwriting team behind Zephyr. Many of their songs have been recorded in Nashville with some of the top musicians of that music-rich city. Prior to his work with Zephyr, Dickerson received national radio airplay as a songwriter, bassist, and one of the original members of the blues band Deep Freyed. He is also the author of numerous books including a recent fantasy novel titled 'The Gifted' and a number of books about fly-fishing and ecology. Susan Nop, who's soul-full and passionate vocals help give Zephyr its distinctive sound, has also performed as a classical pianist, though she has also fallen in love with the accordion. Kathleen Smith, in addition to active work in local musical theatre, has performed with the acclaimed women's choral group Maiden Vermont. She adds her rich and tight harmonies and interesting rhythms to Zephyr, while her husband Dutton Smith, also a long-time well-known figure in the local musical theatre scene, brings additional harmonies while providing both lead violin solos and subtle background string textures, and trades off on the bass.
This event is a part of Vermont Arts 2016, celebrating public funding for the arts.

Concert tickets are $20.  A pre-concert dinner is also available for $20.  Reservations are required for dinner and recommended for the show. Venue is BYOB. Call (802) 247-4295 or e-mail
info@brandon-music.net for reservations or for more information.  Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Rd. Brandon, VT 05733 www.brandon-music.net

8th Annual Vermont Chili Festival
Middlebury on Saturday March 12th

  Organizers are looking for more chili vendors and are reaching out to Brandon Chamber members and others who might be interested in participating!
1st prize is $1000, and best decorated booth is $200, plus it's a lot of fun interacting with 5000-6000+ attendees.

Groups/businesses are encouraged to work together to split costs.

Common Ground Restaurant and Pub
up and running!

 After a long road we are proud to announce that Common Ground Restaurant and Pub is up and running! We are looking forward to serving the greater Brandon area with a new Italian American menu and full service bar. We are opening 6 days a week (closed Tuesdays) from 2pm-9pm offering daily specials and always taking suggestions to improve menu, atmosphere and service!
Thank you for all of your support as we have been renovating and designing. 
We look forward to seeing you for dinner, reservations are a great idea 802-464-8010.
Mae's continues to thrive here in Brandon! Thank you for all of your support!
The Brandon community is one we are proud to be a part of, thank you for your continued support and patronage.
Erynn & Andrew Doaner
Owner, Mae's Place and
Common ground Restaurant and Pub

Brandon Artist Guild painting class!
Fundraiser to benefit area school art programs

The Brandon Artist Guild is excited to announce a fundraiser to benefit all of the nine area school art departments! The cost of adult classes is $45.00 and includes related supplies and your take home project. Classes are limited to 15. The first painting class will be held on Sunday, March 20th from 1-3:30. So reserve your space now by registering at the Artist Guild on Center Street in Brandon.
Children's classes are also being scheduled. We welcome sponsors, business and individual, to help cover the cost of art supplies. Join in the fun!!
More info to follow on future classes. Questions, call Dolores Furnari at 802-247-3695

Compass Treasure Chest
Open every day!!

We're delighted to announce the Compass Treasure Chest! Run by a group of local residents, the store is a unique co-op consignment shop. They sell and consign collectables, antiques, dishes, tools, furniture, jewelry, stamps, puzzles, books, toys, art items and much more! They will always be looking for more items and of course, always receiving new items, so stop in frequently to see what is new.

Open 10-5pm everyday!!. For more information or to inquire about consigning with them, contact Annie at 802-558-2663 or email compasstreasurechestconsign@gmail.com and follow them on Facebook.

Compass Music and Arts Center has more to offer!
There is always something going on at Compass- stop in and explore!!

You've probably seen events, classes and exhibits mentioned here for the Compass Music and Arts Center in Park Village, but do you know what else Compass has to offer?

The Compass Café is open daily from 10:00am - 5:00pm (with the exception of most Saturdays when they close at 2:30 due to concert events at Brandon Music) with daily specials, soups, salads, wraps, Donna's award-winning chili, delicious home-made desserts and more. Stop in for a bite while you explore the rest of Compass.

The Phonograph Rooms is a permanent exhibit at Compass. It offers fascinating insight into the history of recorded music in the home. The exhibit features vintage "talking machines" from 1890 to the 1970s, with the opportunity to listen to great recordings of the past - both classical and popular. A display of antique radios and TVs is also included. There is a small entrance fee to help with maintenance of the machines.

Compass is also the home of the international record company Divine Art Records. You can browse their 400+ CD titles and CDs by local musicians, as well as art and music books, general interest books both new and collectible, and a wide range of gift items at the Compass shops.

Looking for a studio to rent or office or retail space? Compass has rooms available to rent by the month or by the hour. There are currently several artists working out of Compass and by now you may have heard about the Compass Treasure Chest, a consignment shop located in the Compass building.

 There is always something going on at Compass- stop in and explore!

 Compass Music and Arts Center  333 Jones Drive, Brandon, VT 05733  802-247-4295 www.cmacvt.org


Check out Little Pressroom's
latest newsletter!

43 Center Street- Highly visible on route 7, prime downtown Brandon retail space. 1,500 sq. ft. restored historical storefront with maple floors, high tin ceiling and windows over the Neshobe River. A couple of storage spaces and plenty of parking. Located next to Gourmet Provence Bakery.
Available immediately. Call Jim Leary @ 802-247-9595 or Nancy Leary @ 802-558-1444.

Craft, Art, & Music Sales Return to Compass:
Reserve your space now
Compass Music and Arts Center is holding a series of sales during the winter months

For the third year, the Compass Music and Arts Center is holding a series of sales during the winter months, giving crafters, artists, and music enthusiasts an opportunity to sell their goods make some extra cash, free up some storage space and give someone else the chance to make use of and enjoy their items.  See the event information below and contact 802-247-4295 or info@cmacvt.org to reserve a space or with questions.
 Art Sale- February 27, 10-2pm
 Calling all Artists:
Sell your unwanted art supplies, materials, or artwork at the Art Sale on Saturday, February 27th from 10-2pm. Artists may sell unused art supplies as well as finished artwork if it is at a reduced price such as a "second" or older work. This is not a sale in which to offer your full-priced, gallery-ready pieces.
 Please note the ratio of supplies to completed artwork should be at least 50/50, and higher if possible.$20 per space ($5 additional charge per table, if renting) for each 6'x6' selling space with a maximum of 3 spaces per seller. Spaces are limited. No commission is taken so price your items to sell. Send completed registration form and payment by check by Thursday, February 25th. Registration form is available online at www.cmacvt.org or by contacting 802-247-4295 or info@cmacvt.org.
 Music Swap-March 26, 10-2pm
 Calling all Music and Audio Enthusiasts:
Sell, swap and barter!: vinyl records, CDs, 78s and tapes; new and vintage audio equipment, phonographs, radios, and musical instruments; accessories and more, at the Music Swap on Saturday, March 26th from 10-2pm.
 $20 per space ($5 additional charge per table, if renting) for each 6'x6' selling space with a maximum of 3 spaces per seller. Spaces are limited. No commission is taken so price your items to sell. Send completed registration form and payment by check by Thursday, March 24th. Registration form is available online at www.cmacvt.org or by contacting 802-247-4295 or info@cmacvt.org.
 Compass Music and Arts Center is located at Park Village, 333 Jones Dr. Brandon VT, 05733 (Park Village used to be the Brandon Training School, located 1.5 miles north of downtown Brandon off of Arnold District Rd.). www.cmacvt.org

The OFFICES at 25 Union Street

Furnished, private professional offices with shared conference room, full kitchen, comfortable customer waiting area, and parking. $350 - 3750 per month (all utilities included). Co-office environment. Walking distance to village center. Community includes educational publisher and accountant. Large unfinished space also available.

The GRANARY at 29 Union Street, Brandon VT

This beautifully renovated, historic building contains 14 artist studios. The spacious studios have lots of natural light, great lighting, handicapped ramp and parking. The community includes milliner, jeweler, graphic designer, painters, sculptors, photographer and Brandon Artist Guild. The GRANARY is located in the village of Brandon, walking distance to shops, restaurants and galleries. Rents range from $325 - $485 per month ( all utilities included).

Please forward to anyone who may be looking for space in Brandon. I look forward to discussing the available options and showing you the spaces. 
Please contact me at sjerome@visuallearningsys.com or 247-3214 or 683-8209.

Winter reminder for businesses
Keeping Sidewalks Safe

 After a few falls and mishaps in the downtown after the last snow and ice storm, the Chamber encourages all businesses to try and keep their sidewalks clear an safe. Also clearing a path between the sidewalk and the parking spaces makes it easier and safer for all our patrons.
Salt barrels are located throughout the area for your use.
DPW head Daryl Burlett asked for businesses or citizens to call the town office if they encounter any slippery conditions or if the salt barrels need to be refilled.  247-3635
Please Practice Polite Parking :)
Be aware of your fellow businesses and their needs.

We all have to be aware of parking by our employees in the downtown. Try to park off the main streets when possible, and if you park out front before other businesses open, try to move your vehicle after regular hours kick in.
 There's lots of off-street parking so take advantage of it when you can.
Remember we're here for hours working, but our customers are only popping in for a short time, so let's make it easy and convenient for them to shop and support all of our businesses.

Thanks for making it easier for all of our customers.

Brandon Fire Department reaches out to area businesses
Fire pre-planning for your building

Roman Wdowiak - Chief of the Brandon Fire Department encourages businesses in the Brandon area contact him about doing a walk thru of their building(s) to see where everything is in case of a fire so they can do some pre-planning.
Call 802-247-3400 to arrange a walk-thru.

Cyber Hacking and protecting your business.
by Paul Gladding of Holden Financial Services

It seems every day you either read another news story, hear it on the radio or evening news another cyber event occurred and thousands, if not more, have been impacted. The recent hack of the Federal Government Office of Personnel Management, where 4 plus million records of current or former employees were stolen, has elevated the level of awareness of how insidious cyber theft has become. It involves every business and entity in society, from the federal government, financial institutions; such as JP Morgan, health companies; such as Anthem (Blue Cross/Blue Shield), national companies, such as Home Depot and Target, to small companies in Vermont.


Please click here for Paul's complete article on cyber protection.


FREE $2,500 Grants to Help You Grow Your Business!
The Vermont Holistic School of Business

   Yes, you did read that correctly ... You may be eligible to get a FREE $2,500 grant to help you grow your business with your own personal business coach.
   The Vermont Holistic School of Business and is helping small business owners like you get these free grants so that you can grow your business, make more money, and improve the quality of your life.
   Since this program has the potential to help you make major positive changes in your business and your life, we wanted to pass the opportunity on to our members!
   Your grant will pay for ten private business coaching sessions AND a complete online learning system that will help you create specific goals for your business and your life. You'll develop successful and manageable plans of action that will take you through the process of bringing in more customers and increasing sales!
A Holistic Approach...
Perhaps best of all, the school's unique, holistic approach is unlike most others. In addition to learning modules to help you grow a successful business, it also has specific modules focused on Self-Care and Life Balance for the Entrepreneur. So, you will develop new skills that will not only help you build your business, but you'll also do so while living a healthy, happy, and balanced lifestyle.  
About the Grants...
The Holistic School of Business has been approved by VSAC (The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation) as a Non-Degree Grant school. This means, if you fit the income guidelines, you could qualify for a $2,500 grant through VSAC that would pay for your Personal Business Coach. This is money you will NEVER have to pay back!
Here's the link that explains the program and the grant in more detail:
To learn more, call 802.225.5960 Ext. 2, and listen to the pre-recorded message explaining all the details of the program. There is no grant application fee or hidden cost of any kind.

Vermont Association of Chamber Executives
Insurance program offerings for Chamber members.
Although the VACE health insurance program, that many of took advantage of for years, is no longer available, other products still offered through VACE include, Dental, Vision & Life packages.
More information on all of these products can be found at www.vaceinsurance.com
Or contact Holden Financial Services (802) 775-2503 

Chamber members on the move!!
New locations for two of our downtown businesses!!

Creative Fiber Designs is now up and running in their new location two doors up at 12 Park Street. See Maria and the gang in their new digs! They will be open Monday - Friday from 10am - 5:30 and Saturdays from 10am - 4pm, Sunday's will remain by appointment only.

Ellen Walters and the Blue Moon staff have moved their stock up the
street to the old "LaDukes" building next to Kennedy Park. Stop in and see
their cute new set up!

Meet this month's newest 
Chamber businesses!
Our latest additions to the Chamber family.

Simple Systems of Vermont LLC
Greg Smela
1 High Street    
Brandon, VT 05733  
802-458-0620           802-349-2343

Common Ground Restaurant & Pub
(formerly Sullys)
Erynn & Andy Doaner
18 Center St.
Brandon, VT 05733

Welcome !!
2016 New Members- go to Brandon.org for more info on our newest members

-Simple Systems of Vermont- Greg Smela-458-0620
-Common Ground Restaurant & Pub-Erynn & Andy Doaner- 464-8010
-Upscale Resale-Leo and Penny Larocque, Jill and Tim Comes, Mary & Tim Shields- 324-0613
-The Little House-A Vacation Home- Kerrie Quinn & Russ McColman- 247-2770

Own a business?? Join us and connect with other dynamic businesses in the Brandon area and gain great exposure for you business!
Just click here for an application and rates.  
We also have many Individual Members -- what a great way to support a local non-profit and all the great things we do in our town. (Individual/couples memberships are only $50/year)


Paying the bills.
2016 Chamber dues
Chamber members will be receiving their 2016 dues invoices. Dues are being emailed directly from our Quickbooks software. If you prefer a hard copy mailed bill, please let me know. 

For the fifth straight year, the Chamber Board of Directors has decided to hold dues steady. Board members are delighted to be able to continue to provide the same great benefits to members and the general community, without raising dues.
Please pay promptly so we can spend more time on programs, events and activities, rather than bookkeeping!
Thanks for supporting your Chamber throughout the year!
For more info, contact the Chamber at 802-247-6401 or info@brandon.org

New Chamber directors
Heather Norton- Village Spa
Del Cook- Individual Member
Lisa Phelps- Briggs Carriage Company Hair Lounge
Bob Foley Jr.- Neshobe River Winery/Foley Brothers Brewery

And our officers for 2016-
President - Wendy Bizzarro
Vice President - Catherine Wall

Secretary - Nancy Leary

Treasurer - Seth Hopkins


If you see these folks, thank them for their dedication and service to your Chamber.  

Next Chamber Meeting
Tuesday, February 16th, 2016 at 6:30
The Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors will meet at 6:30pm in the Cliver Room at the Stephen A Douglas Birthplace. Chamber membership and the general public are invited to attend.