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1 May 2013 Article in The Commons

1 May
The Commons
Life and Work

VSECU donates $10,000 to Wilmington Fund VT

Originally published in The Commons issue #201 (Wednesday, May 1, 2013).


WILMINGTON—VSECU, the only statewide credit union for all Vermonters, has donated $10,000 to The Wilmington Fund VT toward helping finish the final phase of a downtown Wilmington project.

The gift will be used to pay for lighting in a newly constructed parking lot and green space in downtown Wilmington. It’s part of a matching grant for the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services grant to the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce, for a total contribution of $20,000.

The Wilmington Fund VT contributed an additional $5,000 for the parking lot itself.

The project is part of Wilmington’s Long Term Community Recovery Plan, created in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.

Although VSECU, which opened a branch in Brattleboro in 2012, might be new to Southern Vermont, it knows very well the challenges of rebuilding after Irene. The credit union lost its branch in Waterbury to Irene, and had to rebuild an entire new branch facility. It also helped that community focus on residential rebuilding.

According to board members John Gannon and Julie Lineberger, the Wilmington Fund VT has made seven grants totaling $155,000 in support of downtown Wilmington’s economic revitalization.

Gannon said the purpose of the grants is to encourage existing businesses to reopen, help new businesses launch and create jobs in Wilmington’s historic business center.

According to a press statement, as a result of these grants, five local businesses have opened or are in the process of reopening, including Dot’s Restaurant, a downtown landmark.

The project is expected to be completed this summer.

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24 April 2013 • Brattleboro Reformer Article

28 Apr

Credit union contributes $10,000 to Wilmington Fund

By CHRIS MAYS / Reformer Staff
Posted:   04/24/2013 03:00:00 AM EDT
Updated:   04/24/2013 07:47:11 AM EDT

Vermont State Employee Credit Union delivers a $10,000 Grant to Julie Lineberger on behalf of The Wilmington Fund VT for the purposes of lighting a Village Parking Lot. From left: VSECU Brattleboro Branch Manager, Tina McCosker; Julie Lineberger, Carolyn Palmer, Cliff Duncan, John Gannon, Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy, and Lilias Hart. (Chris Mays/Brattleboro Reformer)

Wednesday April 24, 2013

WILMINGTON — A downtown project is getting closer to completion after the Wilmington Fund received a $10,000 grant from a statewide credit union.

“I’d like to thank the Vermont State Employees Credit Union for working with us and making this possible,” said Wilmington Fund board member John Gannon. “It certainly took a lot of partners to bring this project together. The VSECU has helped us finance the lights that are going to go up and make this area important to revitalizing the downtown economy.”

On April 23, VSECU Brattleboro Branch Manager Tina McCosker gave the $10,000 grant to Julie Lineberger, on behalf of the Wilmington Fund board. The check was received by Lineberger in the general vicinity of where the lights will be going up in the near future.

Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy also attended the event along with Wilmington Fund board members Cliff Duncan, Carolyn Palmer and Lilias Hart.

The Wilmington Fund previously contributed $10,000 to this project, which will improve the parking lot area behind several downtown businesses. There will also be a maintained small greenspace on the property.

The parking lot was re-paved last summer but there were some finishing touches.

The Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce requested money from the Wilmington Fund when the chamber’s executive director, Adam Grinold, saw an opportunity to obtain a grant through the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services.

The funds are going towards paying for lighting and other completion work for the project. The Wilmington Fund contributed an additional $5,000 for the parking lot project last year.

The property is behind Sotheby’s International Realty and Pickwells Barn.

Riverwalk Trail runs through that parking lot and there are plans in the making to link Riverwalk with Dover’s Valley Trail.

According to TheWilmingtonFund.org, “The project is part of Wilmington’s Long-Term Community Recovery Plan resulting from the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.”

Completion of the parking lot project is expected for the summer.

The Wilmington Fund has reported receiving seven grants totaling $155,000 “to support economic revitalization of downtown Wilmington.”

The VSECU had expressed to the Wilmington Fund that it had wanted to reach out beyond central Vermont in assisting towns with revitalization efforts post Irene.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.

Vermont State Employee Credit Union Grant!

23 Apr

FundVT VSECUPhoto by Jadria Cincotta

Vermont State Employee Credit Union delivers a $10,000 Grant to Julie Lineberger, Board Secretary of The Wilmington Fund VT for the purposes of lighting a Village Parking Lot.  From left to right:  VSECU Brattleboro Branch Manager, Tina McCosker; Julie Lineberger, Carolyn Palmer & Cliff Duncan of the Parking Lot Committee, John Gannon of The Wilmington Fund VT, Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy, Lilias Hart also of the Parking Lot Committee.

New Credit Union in Brattleboro Supports Wilmington

18 Apr

Nice Press Release from the Vermont State Employees Credit Union!-1
Yvonne Garand, VP Marketing & Business Development
Ygarand@vsecu.com / 802 371 5197

BRATTELBORO, Vt., April 23, 2013— VSECU, the only state-wide credit union for all Vermonters, has not only expanded its branch access to Southern, Vermont, but has expanded its gifting with a $10,000 contribution to help finish the final phase of a downtown Wilmington project.

The gift  from VSECU along with a $10,000 grant from The Wilmington Fund VT will be used to pay for lighting and other completion work in a newly constructed parking lot and green space in downtown Wilmington.  The Wilmington Fund VT also contributed an additional $5,000 in 2012 for the parking lot itself in addition to the $10,000 match. The project is part of Wilmington’s Long-Term Community Recovery Plan resulting from the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

VSECU may be new to Southern Vermont but has something in common with the area. It knows very well the challenges of rebuilding after Hurricane Irene. The credit union lost its branch in Waterbury, Vermont from Irene and had to rebuild an entire new branch facility and also helped that community focus on residential rebuilding.

“Our credit union was heartbroken to see how many of our members were personally affected by Mother Nature, whether it was the loss of a home, vehicle, business or job because their employer couldn’t remain in business after Irene,” said Kate Paine, board member and chair of the Community Contributions Committee at VSECU.

“It was important to us to reach out beyond the Central Vermont area to support other communities we reside in and serve that are working so hard to finish the rebuilding and revitalization efforts from the storm.”

According to Board Members John Gannon & Julie Lineberger, the Wilmington Fund VT has made a total of seven grants totaling $155,000 to support the economic revitalization of downtown Wilmington. “The purpose of the grants is to encourage existing businesses to reopen, help new businesses launch and create jobs in Wilmington’s historic village center,” said John Gannon. As a result of these grants five local businesses have opened or are in the process of re-opening, including the iconic Dot’s Restaurant. “This gift from VSECU will bring to closure the funding needed to complete the project most needed to give people safe and convenient access
for parking.”

The project is expected to be completed this summer.

VSECU is a not for profit banking alternative for all Vermonters. The Brattleboro branch is located in the Price Chopper Plaza. For more information about VSECU, call 802/800 371-5162 or visit http://www.vsecu.com.

Wilmington receives downtown designation • 28 March story in the Deerfield Valley News

30 Mar
by Jack Deming
2 days ago | 522 views | 1 1 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print

 

WILMINGTON- After an 18-month-long application process, the VT Downtown program has given its stamp of approval, awarding Wilmington village downtown designation.

This paves the way for implementing Wilmington Works, a committee that will work to enhance the business and economic environment of the downtown. Wilmington Works will be a committee of the Wilmington Fund VT, which serves as the committee’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt financial sponsor, as required by the program. The Wilmington Selectboard has also committed funds to Wilmington Works for this, and next year’s, fiscal years, using matching grant funds.

After Tropical Storm Irene, FEMA worked with the town to establish a long-term community recovery plan, and identified approximately two dozen projects that could have positive impacts and help the town most in achieving recovery goals.

Downtown designation was chosen as a high priority by the town, and former selectboard chair Tom Consolino was named project champion. Consolino, town manager Scott Murphy, economic development specialist Gretchen Havreluk, and Wilmington Fund VT member John Gannon spent 18 months putting together the plan, and applying.

According to Murphy, Wilmington Works will provide structure and support for downtown businesses, and organize efforts to improve the town’s economy. This will be accomplished through four subcommittees that report to a board of nine to 11 volunteers. Those subcommittees will consist of organization, economic development, promotion, and design.

For business owners, Murphy says Wilmington Works will provide multiple benefits by consolidating the efforts of the many existing committees in town, which, he says, with time might evolve into parts of the subcommittees. “The one benefit they’re (business owners) going to see first and foremost is the organizational affect,” said Murphy. “Right now we have various committees that work randomly and not in conjunction with each other and this will pull them all together.”

Murphy also noted the financial impact of the program, which opens the town up to apply for more 50-50 match grants that are easily accessible, and were not available under the town’s former status as a village. “Now that we’re a designated downtown, when we apply for other state grants, they can look at that and it will help us get extra credit points toward getting more grants.

“This would also be an asset to someone looking to move into our downtown, and will help to create a vibrant downtown.”

Part of the program’s criteria was proper mapping of the proposed downtown, and with help from the Windham Regional Commission, the town was able to create maps for the application, a process which Murphy says was easy due to Wilmington’s well-defined downtown business area. The program requires that the proposed downtown area not stretch unreasonably past the downtown businesses in any direction.

The Wilmington Works board will be composed of two members designated by the Wilmington Fund VT, two designated by the selectboard, two property owners in the district, two business owners in the district, and a member of the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce, as well as other community members. The majority of Wilmington Works board members must also be residents of the town. Each position will be a three-year term, and Murphy says there has already been a great deal of interest.

The program application was supported by nearly 60 signatures from downtown business and property owners alike.

Read more: Deerfield Valley News – Wilmington receives downtown designation

 

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

Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce & The Wilmington Fund VT win grant

27 Dec

Brattleboro Reformer Article

By Chris Mays/ Reformer Staff
Posted:   12/24/2012 03:00:00 AM EST

Monday December 24, 2012

WILMINGTON — The Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce received a grant award on Wednesday that will help complete a parking lot project in Wilmington as well gather data for economic development in the valley.

“We learned of the grant and then immediately set about finding a partner with matching dollars that could act fairly quickly,” Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Adam Grinold said.

The Chamber of Commerce needed a partner that could put together the money in two or three weeks before the deadline. With a shortage of time, Grinold approached the Wilmington Fund board about applying for this grant through the State of Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services.

Although, the Wilmington Fund board doesn’t usually go about projects on such short notice, its members thought the goal was worthwhile.

“They were very receptive of what we’re trying to do. We came at them from out of nowhere. This isn’t really their model of how to do things, but we explained that this is an opportunity, ‘If we have matching dollars, we can double our money.’”

The Wilmington Fund board wanted to put its money toward the completing a parking area behind the shopping district.

The board was very supportive, Grinold said, and it wanted to see the application get awarded, although the chamber is valleywide.

The Chamber of Commerce was trying to get more funding to study economic development in the Deerfield Valley. Its main job is to gather data for the entire valley.

“We’re trying to be able to provide potential businesses with some collateral information on what the demographics are.”

Grinold gave the Reformer specific examples of things a potential business owner would want to know when evaluating the business model in the valley. The list included getting traffic counts, rooms and meals receipts, tax receipts, a bed count in the valley and the ratios of second-homes to hotels to condominiums.

“Anything that we as a chamber had, went down the river with Irene. We need to rebuild that information. It’s something you need to stay on top of. The freshness of that data is very important.”

The chamber and the Wilmington Fund board worked together on filling out the grant application.

The board wanted to put $10,000 towards completing the parking lot behind the Sotheby’s International Realty and Pickwells Barn buildings, which was redone in the summer. Lighting for the lot is mostly what is left in terms of work to be done, which will be funded by this grant.

Its location has Riverwalk Trail going right through it. In the future, the Valley Trail, which starts in Dover, is slated to eventually meet the Riverwalk Trail.

The remaining $10,000, which comes from the state, is going to go towards data collection and producing a comprehensive report from that information.

The data will be helpful for gaining insight into marketing plans for businesses in the Deerfield Valley. It will be for potential businesses looking for a spot in the area, too.

A video will also be produced, “to highlight attributes of owning businesses in the valley and attracting new businesses,” Grinold said.

The ceremony was held at the State House in Montpelier. Senator Hartwell attended the event, who has been crucial to helping Vermont rebuild its economy after Irene. Lt. Gov. Phil Scott was there as well.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.

A Special Thank You to Sophie Ackert

26 Oct

A Fashionable Approach To Fundraising

By Nancy K. Crevier

Sophie Ackert, dressed in an outfit donated by Pac Sun, thanks supporters of her fashion show to benefit the town of Wilmington, Vt., still recovering from the August 2011 Tropical Storm Irene. —Katie Kent photosEnlarge image

Sophie Ackert, dressed in an outfit donated by Pac Sun, thanks supporters of her fashion show to benefit the town of Wilmington, Vt., still recovering from the August 2011 Tropical Storm Irene. —Katie Kent photos

Twelve-year-old Newtown resident Sophie Ackert put together her love of fashion and the love of her vacation hometown and came up with a highly successful fundraiser, held Sunday, September 9, at the Fraser Woods Montessori School on South Main Street.The fashion show was Sophie’s community project as she prepares for her Bat Mitzvah in October at B’Nai Israel Synagogue in Southbury, and the more than $3,000 dollars raised at the event — three times her goal — as well as four large boxes of clothing, will all benefit the community of Wilmington, Vt., where her parents, Eve and Dave Ackert, own a vacation home.

A year after Tropical Storm Irene swept through New England, Wilmington continues to recover from the devastating floods that knocked businesses and homes there off of foundations and battered other buildings. The loss of 40 businesses has contributed to the loss of jobs for nearly 200 residents of that town, said Eve Ackert.

Maya Neuhoff walks the runway at Fraser Woods School in an outfit assembled from Pac Sun donations.Enlarge image

Maya Neuhoff walks the runway at Fraser Woods School in an outfit assembled from Pac Sun donations.

The late August 2011 storm left Wilmington with contaminated soil, water, and air for many weeks, Ms Ackert said, and prevented the family from returning there until late December. Fortunately, their vacation home is situated on a hill and sustained no damage. But the ruins of the town that they have loved for the seven years they have been visiting were heartbreaking, she said.”I love Vermont,” Sophie said. “My memories of being there are so awesome. It’s so open, and my house there is really different from ours here,” she said. To see the ravaged town and favorite shops in such disrepair, and to see residents still waiting for help in repairing homes and businesses was hard, said Sophie. “They weren’t wealthy people to begin with,” she said.

The family wanted to help and discovered the Wilmington Fund, which is assisting in the rebuilding of businesses there. “Vermont needs the tourism, and counts on these small businesses,” Ms Ackert said, “and the Wilmington Fund is helping them to get loans and grants.”

The desire to aid Wilmington coincided with Sophie’s charge to come up with a Mitzvah project. She had had in mind hosting a fashion show to support charity ever since she started thinking about the project.

Sophie Ackert, far right, gathers with friends, from left, Michaela Stowell, Julia DiMartino, and Samantha Stanton to select outfits to model at the fashion benefit show she hosted Sunday, September 9, as her Bat Mitzvah project.Enlarge image

Sophie Ackert, far right, gathers with friends, from left, Michaela Stowell, Julia DiMartino, and Samantha Stanton to select outfits to model at the fashion benefit show she hosted Sunday, September 9, as her Bat Mitzvah project.

“I want to go into the fashion business,” Sophie said. “I’ve been sketching dresses for years and love it, and then I started sewing some of my own things at the South Norwalk Fashion School summer camps the past two summers,” she said.”She has always been a clotheshorse,” agreed her mother, who said that initially she did not support Sophie’s plan, believing it to be too complicated to undertake. But Sophie persisted and got her parents on board. Even so, said Ms Ackert, she did not anticipate that the project would get as large as it did.

Between 65 and 75 people attended the September 9 show to view and purchase clothing donated by dozens of top brand retailers.

“My dad helped me a lot to get going,” Sophie said. “He got a list of e-mails for top executives in merchandising from a list I made for him of brands I like, and I sent out lots of e-mails to different people at each company,” she said. She was thrilled to receive responses from nearly 90 percent of the companies she approached, and thinks that at least one-third of the companies were able to assist her with donations of clothing.

“I asked for sizes for 11- to 14-year-olds, because I knew that I and my friends would be modeling,” Sophie said. Bass and Tommy Hilfiger also sent men’s clothing, after ascertaining with Sophie that those items would work for her show. “I figured my dad and maybe some of his friends could model those, so it worked out,” she said.

It was the beginning of August when Sophie began soliciting donations. By mid-August the merchandise started arriving at the Ackert home, and by the time September arrived, a 200-square-foot space in their attic was packed with clothing for the fashion show and sale, as well as silent auction and drawing items, jewelry, and gift cards. It was not just national merchandisers supporting Sophie’s efforts, though.

“Almost every area business was willing to help out, with money or food or with things for the auction,” Sophie said. The buffet brunch served Sunday was also thanks to food and beverage donations from area businesses, such as Panera Bread, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Whole Foods, Ms Ackert said.

Entry to the fashion show and brunch was $15. Any clothing that Sophie and her friends had not selected to model for the fashion show were set up on tables for purchase. “One table had things for $10, and another one had clothes for $20,” Sophie said, bargain prices for the top-end merchandise. The silent auction items, such as a basket of Willa Skincare products ($150 value), a Hurley backpack filled with Hurley brand clothing ($300), a Michael Kors bag ($300), and select outfits ($75–$250) created great interest.

A slide show of information and photographs of the Tropical Storm Irene devastation provided by Craig Brandon, author of Goodnight Irene, as well as photographs of the Wilmington damage by Dave Ackert, was shown as guests enjoyed the breakfast buffet and settled in for the show. Thanks to the efforts of Fraser Woods custodians, a fashion runway was assembled in the school’s common room, allowing the models to properly show off the trendy outfits they had created.

Clothing that did not sell will be donated to Twice Blessed, a nonprofit consignment shop in Wilmington, when the Ackerts visit in late September. The consignment shop will try to match people in need with clothing, Ms Ackert said, at no cost to the resident. All of the money raised at Twice Blessed goes back into the community in some form, she added, which meshes nicely with Sophie’s Mitzvah.

Gift cards for food items and some of the cash will go to the Deerfield Valley Food Pantry, as well.

The generosity of companies that included Lee Jeans, Nike, Nautica, Pac Sun, Michael Kors, EMS, Anthropologie, Macy’s, Jensen Automotive, LL Bean, and many more was amazing, Sophie said. “To have executives of these huge companies e-mail me back and thank me for what I was doing was crazy,” She said.

“I never thought I would make as much as I did; I never even thought I would make the $1,000,” Sophie said. “It was fun, but more stressful than I anticipated, and a lot more fulfilling than I expected,” she said. “I’m really glad I went through with this project. Raising this much money for it was great. I feel really good that we found a place to give the clothes and that they will go to people who need them, or the money will go back into the community. It was awesome.”

 

 

 

Two Thank Yous from Beyond Imagination

10 Oct
When waters run deep. . .hearts open wide!  May the memories of Irene renew your faith in humanity.  (Card and artwork by Melinda Coombs)
We could not have done this without your generosity of time and money.  Thank-you from the bottom of our hearts.  Bill & Melinda Coombs
“BEYOND IMAGINATION”
10.4.12 Deerfield Valley News
Words cannot express thanks
To the Editor:Words cannot express how filled with gratitude I am for all the support in the opening of my new boutique Beyond Imagintation. The success is due to so many people,

The Wilmington Fund VT, without whom this would not have come to fruition. Ed Erhard for the renovations to his building, Bob Hall and his crew for all their hard work, Bill for his long hours of everything, Suzanne and Sara for all they did in help making the opening happen so quickly, Gretchen Havreluk for the help with the business plan and support, Manyu for teaching me so well, Meg Streeter for planting the seed, and friends and family for your help and support.

I feel blessed to be in such a supportive community and to be part of the rebirth of Wilmington. I look forward to seeing you all at Beyond Imagination.

Many thanks,

Melinda Coombs

Wilmington

Read more: Deerfield Valley News – Words cannot express thanks