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The Wilmington Fund VT • Video Link

16 Aug

Please check out the video produced for The Wilmington Fund VT!

On August 28, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene caused flooding the tore through Wilmington, Vermont. The devastation was staggering. But Wilmington’s community sprung into action. Before long, the Wilmington Fund VT was born. Its mission: support recovery and future development in the historic downtown. Watch the video to learn more about Wilmington Fund VT’s efforts and its plans for the future.

Thanks to Ann Manwaring for shepherding this project through to completion.  Video production by Mondo Mediaworks          mondomediaworks.com

Thank you!

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Vermont B/A: Wilmington Pulls Together to bring its Historic Downtown Back to Life

17 Mar

Although there is not a digital copy available, if you see the current issue of Vermont B/A (formerly Builder Architect), there is a very nice article on The Wilmington Fund VT with photos by Carolyn Bates & Barker Willard including the two below.

Irene at Work, photo by Barker Willard

Irene at Work, photo by Barker Willard

Wilmington One Year Later, photo by Carolyn Bates

Wilmington One Year Later, photo by Carolyn Bates

 

Cracker Barrel Winter/Spring 2013 A part of Irene’s aftermath: The Wilmington Fund VT

9 Mar

One Part of Irene’s Economic Aftermath:  The Wilmington Fund VT

Two months ago Hurricane Sandy slammed through the Northeast.  Those of us in the Deerfield Valley had a true understanding of damage that can be left behind.  Our thoughts and prayers were with everyone harmed by the climactic event.

Nearly a year and a half ago (28 August 2011), Tropical Storm Irene ravaged many Vermont towns, including Wilmington.  By January, The Wilmington Fund VT was established and hard at work.

Founding:

Tamara and Dan Kilmurray, longtime Wimington second homeowners felt the losses and destruction of Wilmington’s village viscerally.  Throughout the clean up process in which they physically contributed, they discussed what could be done on a long term basis.  Dan communicated with Deborah Emmet Pike, another second home owner who had introduced him to the valley over three decades ago.  Deborah put Dan in touch with local business owner Julie Lineberger as someone who could assist him in gathering a group of people to create a long term difference.

By February 2012 the full Board was established including Dan as President, State House Representative Ann Manwaring as Vice President, financial planner Bruce Mullen as Treasurer and Julie as Secretary of the Board.  Rounding out the group were Tamara Kilmurray, Deborah Emmet Pike, attorney Robert Fisher, business owner John Gannon and innkeeper John Pilcher who, reluctantly, resigned from the Board in November.

Recently the Board created an Advisory Council to assist in with the mission through brainstorming fundraising ideas, acting as ambassadors to The Wilmington Fund VT.  This group includes Mount Snow Partner Dick Deutsch, West Dover second homeowner Bob Kaufman, Halifax second homeowner Walter Jones, local active volunteer Alice Greenspan, and Wilmington second homeowner Sophie Ackert who raised a significant amount of money for The Wilmington Fund VT through her Bat Mitzvah project.

Grant Process

The primary mission of The Wilmington Fund VT is to contribute to the the economic vitality in the area by encouraging established pre-Irene businesses to reopen, help new businesses launch and create jobs in Wilmington’s historic village center.  This includes shrinking the number of empty storefronts in the village.  Steadily, albeit slowly, we are advancing towards these goals.

In order to accomplish the above goals, The Wilmington Fund VT established parameters and protocols for grant applications and approval.  Each project is evaluated on its own particular set of circumstances by our general requirements that include submission of a complete business plan to establish, or reestablish, a business in the Village.  Part of the requirement is that any submission must include a substantial financial investment on the part of the applicant business owner.

Once a letter requesting funds accompanied by a completed business plan is submitted, a small group of our Board vets the project through interview and other due diligence measures.  When approved by the small group, the project is brought to the full Board of Directors for discussion.

So far, the Wilmington Fund VT invested $145,000 in the approval and distribution of  and distribution six grants.  The recipient business owners are on target to invest in excess of $1 million in their respective projects.  This multiplier effect is a key requirement for any grant application and approval of The Wilmington Fund VT.

Progress

The grants distributed include five businesses and an infrastructural project to support all village businesses.  The businesses that either opened, or are in the process of reopening, are well funded and have solid articulated business plans.  The Wilmington Fund VT is highly confident of their success and believe that a total of 30 local jobs will be created.

North Star Bowl – REOPENED. The center for local activity offering both bowling and informal food is owned by Steve Butler and Bev Lemaire.  Over 75% of this structure was destroyed in the storm.  Although not technically in Wilmington’s Village Center, we felt this business to be a significant contributor to the economic vitality of the area.

• Dot’s Restaurant – REOPENING SOON.  The iconic breakfast to dinner restaurant is owned by Patty and John Reagan.  http://www.rebuilddots.com

Note:  Funding and elbow grease from many individuals and many groups, most notably the Friends of the Valley, is what enabled both North Star and Dot’s to even think of reopening.  The Wilmington Fund VT was but one aspect of the reestablishment of these businesses.

Beyond Imagination – OPENED. A beautifully designed women’s clothing and household furnishings boutique is owned by Melinda and Bill Coombs.  http://www.beyondimagination.com

Chapman’s InTown Antiques – OPENED. Diane and Len Chapman have been running an antique business on their Medburyville property just outside of town for many years.  Along with neighbors JoAnn and David Manning, they decided to open a store in the village.  With assistance from The Wilmington Fund VT, the team of four renovated a storm ravaged building and are offering both antiques and local Vermont crafts.

Restaurant in the historic Parmelee & Howe Building – OPENING SOON. The Wilmington Fund VT purchased and began renovating this anchor building on the corner of Routes 9 & 100.  Mid-way through we were approached by a local individual with a vision and an interest in purchasing the property.  Acknowledging the ample investment and undertaking by the purchaser, as a demonstration of support the accepted negotiated price was less than our investment. The Wilmington Fund VT is pleased to have accomplished its goal with the sale of the Historic Parmelee & Howe building and look forward to its success.

• Village Walkway – PARTIALLY COMPLETED.  Led by the Long Term Recovery Parking and Green space Committee of Carolyn Palmer, Lilias Hart and Sue Spengler, the project links a new parking lot with Main Street with a soon to be lit walkway.

Future Challenges:

Because of these early successes, morale in the village is recovering and the ambiance greatly improved.  The robust Village Stroll Committee is working diligently to create various events to entice people downtown.  In addition, the increase in tourist traffic this fall was very encouraging.

However, there remain numerous damaged and empty buildings requiring a great deal of work.  The scope of these future projects is larger than our accomplishments to date, and 80 or so jobs still need to be restored.  The Board is exploring various options, including the establishment of a revolving loan fund, to stimulate economic growth in the village.

The Wilmington Fund VT has been prudent stewards of donated capital.  Close to 100% of fund donations go to economic vitality efforts with a minimal amount used for insurance and accounting fees.  All Board Members work voluntarily, truly a tireless effort by a talented group of individuals.

To continue our work, The Wilmington Fund VT is in a constant mode of fundraising.  We are also establishing two annual fundraisers.  The Summer Event of 2012 was extremely successful.  This included an art show curated by Mary Wright of Gallery Wright, a Pig Roast Dinner at the home of the Kilmurrays, and a Memorial Hall concert produced with great support of Dale Doucette.  Plans for the 13 July 2013 Summer Event are in currently in the works.

The Wilmington Fund VT is also in the midst of working with Mount Snow to create an annual Winter Event.

The long term success of our cause will ultimately be determined by continued strong governance, solid decision making and, of course, successful fundraising.  All are invited to keep on top of our progress through http://www.TheWilmingtonFundVT.org

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.

www.beyondimaginationvt.com

Parmelee & Howe Lease Information

19 May

Parmelee & Howe Building
4 North Main Street
Wilmington, Vermont 05363

Property Description

The Wilmington Fund VT, Inc. (WFVT) owns and operates the recently renovated Parmelee & Howe commercial building in Wilmington, Vermont.  Perhaps the best and most visible commercial location in Wilmington as all traffic passing through the town filters through this location at the intersection of Route 9 and Route 100.  The 5340 square foot two-story brick building was originally built in 1934, but major renovations are just now being completed, including HVAC, electrical, and interior work.

At present, there are four available spaces:

1st floor corner of Route 9/Route 100 (1211 square feet) – $2000
1st floor Route 100 (672 square feet) – $1000
2nd floor corner of Route 9/Route 100 (1316 square feet) – $800
2nd floor office (174 square feet) – $150

These spaces can be combined or leased separately.

Leasing Process

If you are interested in leasing space in the Parmelee & Howe Building, please send us a Letter of Interest.  This brief letter should include:

Description of your business
Business experience (for an existing business, provide a brief history of your business; for a new business, provide information on your business and management experience)
Market analysis (identify target market, competitors, and potential market share)
Financing needs (include sources and use of funds)
Space(s) you are interested in leasing

Please submit your Letter of Interest via email to [email address]. Certain prospective tenants will then be asked to submit a full business plan.  The Vermont Small Business Development Center provides excellent guidance on developing a business plan.  You can find this information at http://www.vtsbdc.org/assets/files/sbdc-business-plan-guidelines.pdf

Financial Assistance

WFVT does not have the resources to fund your entire business.  While WFVT may provide limited financial support to a tenant on a case-by-case basis, all tenants are expected make significant financial contributions (cash or loans) to their business.

Timing

Letters of interest are due on June 1, 2012.

Business Plans are due on June 15, 2012

Questions

If you have any questions, please contact John Gannon (john.gannon@mac.com) 802-490-4327 or Bruce Mullen (bruce_mullen@earthlink.net) 802-464-8998.

Parmelee & Howe Building Looking for Tenants

17 May

The Wilmington Fund, VT is finishing renovations at the historic Parmelee  & Howe building and is ready for tenants.

In late 2011, a charitable foundation, The Wilmington Fund, VT was formed to help rebuild and revitalize our Town following the devastation of Irene.   Our goal is to acquire and save some important buildings in the Village and well as aid charitable projects such as the Northstar Bowl, Dots, and others.

Our renovations at the Parmelee & Howe building will be completed by June, and we are now seeking small business tenants to come in at favorable lease terms to help reinvigorate our community’s economic base.  We will have four potential spaces available, two downstairs and two upstairs; for shops, galleries, food establishments, or office space.  The Parmelee & Howe building is one of Wilmington’s prominent structures.  It has a history of housing many successful businesses, including a hardware store, pharmacy, boutique, art gallery, and coffee shop among other uses.  The building’s location at the traffic light intersection of Route 9 and 100, makes it critical for showcasing our downtown rebirth and is ideal for pedestrian traffic.

Interested tenants should contact the Fund at 14 Castle Hill Road, or call John Gannon at 802-490-4327, or Bruce Mullen at 802-464-8998 for further details.  Interested tenants should prepare a Letter of Interest by Friday June 1st, and a detailed business plan by Friday June 15th.

For more information, please see: https://thewilmingtonfundvt.org/2012/05/19/parmelee-howe-lease-information/