Archive | September, 2012

New Stores Bring Hope To Town Hit By Flood And Recession – VPR Broadcast

28 Sep

Friday, 09/28/12 5:50pm

Nancy Eve Cohen

VPR/Nancy Eve Cohen
Beyond Imagination is one of two new businesses that just opened in downtown Wilmington.

When the flood hit Wilmington a year ago the local economy was already on its knees. But just this month, with the help of a local non-profit two new businesses are opening in the downtown and a once flood-damaged building was sold.

The wail of a skill saw is annoying in some places, but in Wilmington it’s like a beautiful aria. Dots, the iconic restaurant which Irene destroyed in the center of town, is getting rebuilt.

“You can see the foundation’s being poured. They’re starting to do the framing of it right now.” said Julie Lineberger from the Wilmington Fund VT.

The Fund has raised nearly $600,000 to invest in downtown businesses like Dots.

“You need the village to be economically vital and vibrant “in order to have people to come here and spend money here,” said Lineberger,

The Fund bought, fixed up and just sold a historic brick building that hugs the corner of Wilmington’s main intersection. The new owner plans to open a restaurant. The Fund also gave a grant to Beyond Imagination, a clothing boutique which is having its grand opening tonight.   Melinda Coombs is launching this store, despite the slow economy, for several reasons.

“To help the town as well as start a new business for myself, ” said Coombs. “But the main one is that I grew up in this town.”

So has her son and her granddaughter. But Coombs lost her job at another store a year ago after the downtown was nearly destroyed  by Irene.

“It’s like losing your home,” said Coombs tearing up. “The thought that you might have to go out of the area to live because the economy might not recover. The thought of that just isn’t an option for me. I love living here.”

Lenny Chapman is opening another new store in the village of Wilmington called Chapman’s In Town Antiques. He shows off a cake box from the early 1800s.

“They used to make cakes and put them in here and keep them so the mice wouldn’t get at them”

Chapman says he believes the economy is coming back. He has another antique business in a barn just down the road.

“We had a good summer out at the barn,” Chapman said. “That’s one of the reasons why we would try to open here.”

But some business owners who have been downtown a long time have a different view, such as Meg Streeter who has been a realtor here for nearly three decades. She’s also a member of Wilmington’s select-board.

“It’s really tough here, I feel.” said Streeter. “The recession has never ended here. It has never ended in the Mount Snow area.”

Eileen Ranslow, whose been selling carpet and tiling at the Wilmington Home Center for 42 years says she’s holding on, but just barely.

“The economy for the last 2 ½ years, 3 years has been non- existent” recalled Ranslow. “And then we had Irene pass through. That pretty well flattened us, We’re still doing business, but it has been very, very tough.”

The official numbers bear that out, but they also show a ray of light. Economist Richard Heaps of Northern Economic Consulting says before the flood the number of businesses in Wilmington fell by 16 percent. But he says in the past year there’s been a little shift in the right direction.

“Couple more businesses opened up, but the total employment fell and wages grew a little.  So there was a hint that Wilmington was beginning to see a turn.,” said Heaps. “And now, the recent news of a couple of businesses coming in is building on that. It’s not much, but it’s beginning to show that they’re turning the corner.”

Melinda Coombs is hoping for a domino effect as new businesses like hers attract more customers to the entire town.

“If word gets out that ‘Gosh, there are a lot of really nice shops in Wilmington. Maybe we’ll go there from Bennington or Brattleboro or other places,’ it’s just going to help everybody!”

No one here is predicting a quick turn around, but they’re planting seeds hoping a better economy will eventually take root.


Gratitude for Spring & Summer 2012 Donors

22 Sep

May & June & July 2012

• Vermont Community Foundation as recommended by Robert Kaufman

• Peter Yeskel: in honor of Beth and John Greene

• Petra & Mark Williams

• Gail & Craig Llewellyn

• Kristi Craig – Ionia, MO:  in honor of Bette Crawford

• Christopher Jewell – Riverside, CT

• IBM Employee Matching

• Barbara Ewert – Warwicki, NY

• Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School – Palo Alto, CA:  Dear John, I am really sorry that you were not able to attend our celebration of Tzedakah on May 23rd.  During the ceremony we allocated the funds we had collected and presented the checks to each organization.  This ceremony was very moving for us because we all knew that we were helping the world one step at a time in many different areas of need.  Currently, we are all very proud of ourselves and know that we have in fact made an impact on the world.          Enclosed please find the allocation from the Hausner Seventh Grade Avodah La’Olam Philanthropy fund to Wilmington Fund VT.  We look forward to hearing about the accomplishments this money has helped in the repairing of Wilmington.  Sincerely, Isabel Horowitz and the Housner Seventh Grade.

• Margaret & Richard Stewart – Trumbull, CT

• Martha & Gordon  Watson – Naples, FL

August & Early September 2012

• Mrs. Angelo J. Picone – East Hartford, CT:  We’ve been coming through the Town of Wilmington for fifty years.  We knew Ray up on Ray Hill, always stopped at Dot’s.  So glad to see you coming back!!  Good Luck, Josephine

• Turkeltaub Family

• Barbara Ewert: in memory of Anne O’Sullivan

• P.I.E. Facilities of NY Inc  (Adam Kriveloff) – New York, NY

• Peggy & Walter Jones – Halifax VT & Englewood, NJ:  Dear Julie, This donation is from Walter & Peggy Jones.  If you have a newsletter on the information updating the Fund’s activities, I would like to receive it.  Regards, Walter

• Kaumil Gajrawala – New York, NY

More Dot’s Supporters

• Judith K. Tredway:  Thanks for the chance to support Dot’s.  This year will be the first time in Wilmington without Black and White Milkshakes for breakfast.  Looking forward to seeing Patty and John in a spirit of hope and excitement.  Thanks again, Judy

• Beth S. & Kenneth W. Motschwiller – Rockville Center, NY:  Save Dot’s

Dot’s Rebuild Concert Donations
• Haystack Club Operating Company     (Concert Sponsorship)
• SMR Contracting   (Concert Sponsorship)
• Stevens & Associates   (Concert Sponsorship)
• Orvis    (Concert Sponsorship)
• Lisa Coneeny & Leslie Fraser
• Leona & Murray Brochin
• Beth & Kenneth Motschwiller
• Margaret & Richard Stewart
• Martha & Gordon Watson
• MaryLou & Doug LaPlante c/o Wilmington Baptist Church
• Betty Emery
• Linda & Stephen Purdy

Dot’s Silent Auction Donations
• Ann Manwaring – $15.00 winning bid by Crista Gannon for the Sling Back Camera Bag
• Barbara Holliday – $175.00 for winning bids by Kristin Mumford and Lisa Sullivan for the sets of Artist Proof Prints
• Beverly Perna – $200.00 winning bid by Carole Goodman of Saint Louis for the Dot’s Lithograph
• David Ganter – $225.00 winning bid by Alison Chaltas for the Wedding Cake Table
• Erik Barnes, Director of Golf, Mount Snow – $125 winning bid by Alison Chaltas for the Greens Fees at Mount Snow Country Club
• Jennifer Langden, Director of Lodging, Mount Snow – $90 winning bid by David Schneider for a weekend getaway at the Grand Summit

Village Walkway Donations
• Whitingham Halifax Lions
• Urshula & Ken Wood
• Alan Stewart
• Ann Ottaviano
• Bruce Phillips
• Susan Byron
• Barbara Suraci
• Mark Hanna
• Joan Wiener & Stanley Shapiro

In Appreciation of 2011- 2012 Winter Donors not previously noted

22 Sep

December 2011

• Meryl & Chuck Witmer

• Allison & David Sachs

• Tamara & Dan Kilmurray

• John Skok

• Hanna Wakim

• Anne Marie & Paul Galietto

• Mitch Rubin

• Karin Manwaring

• The Hassenfeld Foundation

• Jennifer & Joseph Garrity

• Brahman Capital Corporation

• I Leff

• The Winters Family

• The Michael & Carol Lowenstein Foundation

• Kristen & Benjamin Quick

• Robert Stein

• John J Brown

• Russ Hornsby/Cepia LLC

January 2012

• Adam Manwaring

• Grant Manwaring

• Ann Manwaring in lieu of Gift to Bruce & Ellen Manwaring

• Ann P Manwaring

• Nancy & Douglas Manwaring

• Ellen & Bruce Manwaring

• Rachel & Randolph Gwirtzman

• Deborah Emmett-Pike & Steven Emmett

• Gilbert Laird Bieger

• Dee Beaty

• The NY Community Trust as recommended by Robert Kaufman

• Leon Wagner:  The Wagner Family Foundation

• Amy Leff

• John Gannon

• John Amerman

• Martin Koekstra

• Robert Horwitz & Catherine Redlich via Schwab Charitable Fund

February 2012

• The Ken and Julie Moelis Foundation

• Beth & Gary Jacobson

• Kristen & Rick Cacciapaglia

• Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts

• Michael Jay Chernick

• Nancy & Bruce Mullen

• Maureen & James Hausmann

• Laura & Brian Hull

• Rosalie & Andrew Schindel

March 2012

• Indira & Shahab Khan

• Margaret & Robert Woolmington

• Anonymous

• Elizabeth Brooks

• Joyce & William Allen

• Alice B. Greenspan

• Mr. David Seitz

April 2012

• Alyssa & Clifford Greenberg

• Marc Fuhrman

• Anonymous

Much Gratitude to each and every donor!