Sales are going up and we're hiring again at our Vernon, VT office of Vermont Woods Studios Furniture.
Our office isn't as crazy as The Office at Dunder Mifflin, but it's not your average workplace either.
We're constantly challenging ourselves and each other to do things better, faster and smarter and we keep up a pretty fast pace. At the same time, we try to have fun and celebrate our successes as we pursue our company's green mission.
We have 2 job positions we're looking to fill. One is for a Sales and Customer Service Associate. This person will start out working in Sales and Shipping with Douglas and Shannon, helping customers online, over the phone and in the showroom.
The second position is for a Marketing Associate. This person will start out working with Manjula and Dennis adding new products to our website and editing existing products.
Both positions are entry level and require a fair amount of data entry in the beginning. As our company grows, we try to shape the job around the person's strengths, interests and plans for future professional development so there is room to grow and pursue your passion with us.
Anyone interested in joining us should get to know our company through our website (also our blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) review the job postings and respond per the posted instructions. We plan to review resumes and references over the next month or so and will be selecting candidates in April or May.
I guess we tend to take these opportunities for granted in Vermont because there's such an abundance of local, all-natural food.
Our good friend Annette has been raising organic, grass-fed beef on her Malhanna farm just down the road for many years. Some photo-journalists from the Vermont Center for Photography chronicled Annette's farm last weekend and I'm trying to get permission to share some of their photos with you. In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy this beautiful video about Lilac Ridge, an organic family farm in Brattleboro, Vermont.
It was only a couple days ago that Shannon ran into my office with a look of total disbelief on her face, saying that someone named Christine Brozyna, a producer from ABC World News with Diane Sawyer would like to talk to us about our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge.
Wow! I thought WE worked hard at Vermont Wood Studios. In 5 days these people read all about us on the Internet, liked our company and our drive, dreamed up a segment about us for their national news show, gathered up a camera crew, drove up to Vernon VT and spent the whole day today filming our story. It was a whilrwind and I'm not quite sure if I've been dreaming myself, but I have to say today was pretty exciting, either way.
- We did a 10AM shoot at the Schoolhouse General Store with the new manager, Chad Mulverhill, his family and Cindy Falvey. At first we were the only ones on scene so we all had to call everyone we knew, in desperation and beg them to rush down and help us make it look like a good crowd. Our friends came through
- Then we migrated over to the Town Hall at noon for what Christine imagined as a "Huge" crowd scene. Well, I guess huge is a relative term, but I can truthfully say this was a HUGE crowd for Vernon. Linda Shippee had all the pre-school kids there with a Thanksgiving banner they had made. Most of the town employees were there. Several good people from VY came over. And a ton of other people who wanted to support the project came… just to be nice and see what was going on.
- Next was a 2pm segment at the Vernon Elementary School where the principal, Mark Speno let us be a part of the kids' Sock Hop, an amazing assembly in the cafeteria where the teachers we all know and love taught the chicken dance, the swim and the pony to the kids
- Next stop– the Vernon Fire Station where Chief Todd Capan and 3 other brave fire fighters assembled in front of the camera, listened to our spiel and were good-natured enough to give a Made in America shout-out for the producers
- The last shop was Chad Woodruff's Custom Furniture Workshop. Chad is one of Vermont's finest furniture makers and we are so lucky to be able to work with him. The camera crew filmed Chad and his staff woodworking and also did a nice interview with Chad where we learned (among other things) that he can tell the difference between an imported piece of furniture and an American made piece from 10 feet away.
Thanks also to the local media who came out to capture the event. I love this behind the scenes video posted by Zach Stephens at The Brattleboro Reformer.
I hope you get to see all of this on Wednesday when it airs on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer at 6:30pm. Everywhere we went today, the producers set up the scene so we were telling people about our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge and asking them to join us. We honestly had no earthly idea how this was going to play out and we're so grateful to everyone for supporting us in our ignorance.
I can't image how they're going to boil 10 hours of filming down to 3 minutes but I trust that the genius of Christine and Eric Noll (the other producer) will prevail and everything will come out just fine. That's Christine and Eric above with Tom and Mark, the camera crew. They had us getting our picture taken holding the Made in America sign all day, so we wanted to turn the tables on them and get a photo of them holding a sign of our choice– a promotional sign for Woodruff Custom Furniture.
If you made it to this page, and even to the bottom of this page– we're sending out a big THANK you to all of you from ABC. We look forward to seeing you again, closer to Christmas. Come and check out all our American Made finds!
I'm just getting back from a weekend trip up North to Plattsburgh, NY (200 miles north) to visit my mother. While we were enjoying a beautiful, sunny Fall day and feeding the Canadain geese who stopped to rest at the CVPH Medical Center, my friends to the South were getting covered with 15" of heavy wet snow. How weird is that?
Sun and fun in Plattsburgh, NY yesterday.
By the time I got back down to Brattleboro, there were trees and branches down everywhere, power outages and traffic accidents. All this snow made me wonder what lies ahead for the geese and other migrating birds as they head South.
It's not a very nice Halloween trick for Mother Nature to play on them.
Time to fill up the bird feeders.
Part of our feasibility study to see if the Skyline property on Vermont's Hogback Mountain would work for Vermont Woods Studios is anaylzing the possibility of co-locating a cafe or wine bar with the furniture showroom. It's not a real natural combination, is it (furniture and food)?
But two factors keep pointing to the pairing of these functions at Skyline:
- The Skyline location, on top of Hogback Mountain, with it's 100 mile view of the Green Mountain Forest offers what I've been looking for to raise awareness about where your wood furniture comes from. After all, you can buy imported wood furniture anywhere but it's probably going to be made from illegally harvested trees, clear-cut from the world's rapidly disappearing tropical rainforests. Our customers are interested in acquiring heirloom quality, Vermont-made furniture that's crafted from natural, solid, wood that's been sustainably harvested from beautiful, well-managed American forests (more about green, environmental concerns here).
- The other factor is that: How could you operate ANYTHING at Skyline without inviting people to come up and enjoy the view? It would be kinda like that commercial for Ally bank where the guy asks 2 little girls if they'd like a pony. He shows a real pony to one of the girls but only gives her a little figurine instead. The announcer says something like: "even kids know it's wrong to hold out on somebody." That's how I'd feel having a business at Skyline that didn't offer people a place to relax and enjoy the view with a cup of tea or a glass of wine.
So now we're trying to figure out how to strategically pair a Vermont-made furniture showroom with a cafe or wine bar. Allocating space is the conundrum of the day. 60% furniture — 40% cafe? Additional seasonal seating outside? I guess the answers will reveal themselves as we do our research.
Got ideas? Suggestions? Interested in running an upscale cafe at Skyline? Contact us on Facebook and jump into the conversation. We'll be looking for local help as we navigate through the feasibility study and (hopefully) beyond.
Remember this photo? Well, I mentioned in the summer that Ken and I were looking to purchase a property that Vermont Woods Studios Furniture could call home.
This week we signed an offer to purchase the old Skyline Restaurant property on Route 9 in Marlboro, Vermont (across from the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum and Giftshop). It's just a first step and there are many hurdles to be jumped before a sale can happen but even so, we're pretty excited about it. And nervous.
We looked at dozens of properties throughout southern Vermont (courtesy of Suzanne King at Masiello Real Estate) and liked this one best because of its beautiful location in the foothills of the Green Mountain National Forest. We wanted a place where we could welcome customers and let them experience the link between Vermont's handmade wood furniture and the forest where it comes from.
So today starts our journey to take Vermont Woods Studios to the next level. We'll keep you posted as to how things go. We were lucky enough to persuade Brattleboro's best architect (J Coleman and Co) and engineer (Stevens and Associates PC) to help us out by doing some initial feasibility studies to see if the (distressed) Skyline property and existing building are up to the task of renovation and re-birth. We'll be immersed in that assessment for probably the next couple months. We'll be asking your opinion as we go– either through the comment link below or on our Facebook or preferably over a glass of wine in our kitchen.
We're looking to make this a green project that produces a showroom worthy of the elegant handmade furniture inside and the incredible natural beauty of the Green Mountains outside. Check back in now and then and give us your thoughts and advice.
Vermont Woods Studios is a Drop Off Location for Load the Latchis- a food donation program for Vermonters in need. This event sponsored by Peter Case (Fish in the Morning) of WKVT, the Latchis Hotel and The Brattleboro Savings and Loan was originally planned to help stock the Brattleboro Drop In Center. But after Hurricane Irene, it has been postponed and expanded to serve the most needy throughout all of Windham County.
If you want to help your neighbors in need, bring dry, non-perishable goods to our Vermont Woods Studios office/showroom at 2531 Fort Bridgeman Rd in Vernon (next to the Post Office) anytime during business hours between now and Wed Sept 14 at 2pm.
We will then bring the food to Fish and Co in Brattleboro and work with them to distribute it throughout the county to the areas that were hardest hit by Irene and to those who need it the most. Help… we're hoping for a HUGE turnout from Vernon!!
PS– Looking for post-Irene status information or to volunteer to help Irene victims in the Brattleboro area? Fish's blog has all the news on who's open, who needs what, when, where and so on.
More Tales Of A Flatlander by Shannon Albritton
I spoke with my Dad in Pennsylvania yesterday to give him my regular update on what’s been happening here in Vermont. My parents have plans to visit us at the end of the month for “Leaf Peeping Season” and Dad is concerned about the roads and the general condition of area. “Will there even be anything to see and do when we get there?” (Silent pause)… hmmm… “Do you mean other than visiting with your favorite daughter and son-in-law?” Joking! Not really.
This question, of course, is common among Vermont-loving Americans outside of our state as our trees prime themselves for their Fall Foliage Spectacular. The media has done an excellent job of communicating our devastation and I mean that sincerely. Yes, many roads and quaint towns have been ‘rearranged’ by Mother Nature? Perhaps she’d become a bit bored with our landscape and wanted to redecorate? Yet even as I take in the disruption and damage around me I can’t stop thinking about its stunning beauty, rearrangement and all.
You see, I’ve lived in Vermont less than 6 months, which still qualifies me as a tourist and a flatlander. My husband and I are always on the hunt for something interesting to investigate around our new home in Windham County. When our out-of-state friends visit we spring into tour-guide mode. Here in Southern Vermont there are endless options undisturbed by the effects of Irene. Outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and mountain biking are plentiful. Despite the flooding you’ve seen on the news most everything is still accessible.
A casual stroll through downtown Brattleboro’s charming shops, galleries and restaurants can pleasantly fill your day. It’s an eclectic and interesting town that some have referred to as the ‘San Francisco of the Northeast’. You may even spot a Brattleboro resident walking his pig on a leash down Main Street! I can’t make these things up.
If you’re lucky to be here for the first Friday of the month don’t miss Gallery Walk, a year-round, festive FIRST FRIDAY stroll, 5:30 to 8:30, in downtown Brattleboro, Vt. and nearby locations. The Brattleboro Farmers Market is one of the best I’ve ever visited and they have the most delicious prepared foods for breakfast and lunch. Take home some Vermont Maple Syrup, savory cheese and locally grown organic apples, veggies and many other Vermont-made treats.
The Southern Vermont Natural History Museum located atop Hogback Mountain in Marlboro is sure to please nature enthusiasts and the 100-mile view from their location is a show-stopper every time. If you’re an earlier riser there is no better location than this to watch the sunrise over the vast mountain range.
Adjacent to the Visitors Center Grounds and Hogback Mountain Conservation area you can access an entry-level hiking trail leading to the steel fire tower at the summit of Mt. Olga, Molly Start State Park. Those without a fear of heights (not me) can climb to the top for, what I am told, an incredible sight. Using the Molly Stark State Park Trail Guide you can branch off into a trail system with varying difficulty. Campers at Molly Start Campground can connect Hogback Mountain and the museum via this trail system. Travel just a few miles west toward Wilmington and take 100 north to the Mount Snow base lodge and hop on the Scenic Chairlift Ride. This had been a favorite outing for our guests and I can hardly wait to do ride the lift this fall!
When you’re hungry for a great outdoor meal head straight to Wahoo’s Eatery in Wilmington where you can upgrade your burger, wrap, sandwich or salad with grass-fed beef or free-range organic chicken. Their Bacon Blue grass-fed Burger is the best in the area. Wahoo’s was almost destroyed but with the help of it’s community is back on it’s feet again and donating 50% of ALL sales to directly to helping the hundreds of people displaced by the historic flooding. Now that’s community!
The Official State of Vermont Tourism Site hosts an extensive amount of well-organized information and writes, “The vast majority of the state is accessible and most lodging and dining properties are fully operational and ready to welcome you”. Visit their site to learn more about available lodging and activities here in Southern Vermont and points north. All we Vermonters (and Flatlanders) ask is that you have a little patience on our roads, obey the detours and have consideration for our construction, and relief vehicles. Here’s a bright side to consider; if you have to drive a little slower and if it takes a little longer that’s just more time you’ll have to absorb the scenery of the great state of Vermont in all it’s splendor and beauty!
Oh wait, before you go… Did I mention we’re on tap for the best Fall Foliage Season we’ve had in years. The leaves on the trees have survived and remain strong, in true Vermont fashion, and this year's Fall Foliage Season looks promising. Many thanks to Irene and Mother Nature… Perhaps too much rain does make some things better.
At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture, we been extremely lucky to escape most of the wrath of Hurricane Irene, however just 5 miles up the road in Brattleboro and indeed throughout our state the destruction from flooding is overwhelming. The storm itself wasn't so bad, but the rain! Some places received 11" of rain in a day's time! We've all been instructed to stay home the last few days while emergency crews respond, but today I had to run into town (to get pizzas for Riley's Back to School crowd).
I was sad to see that the Whetstone river is still raging through downtown Bratt and the Connecticut river is nearly overflowing it's banks. It's expected to crest tomorrow and that may mean they'll have to close Route 142, the main road into and out of Vernon.
Route 9 is already closed between Brattleboro and Bennington. Hundreds of other roads throughout Vermont are also closed. We have lost many of Vermont's historic covered bridges, some over 140 years old. The main intersection in Wilmington Vermont was a rushing river! The covered bridge at Simon Pearce in Quechee VT was washed out. No one has ever seen this kind of devastation here in Vermont. Irene has taken the lives of 3 people. The Red Cross has put out an excellent video showing the extent of damage in our area.
A few of our woodworkers have lost power, Internet and phones, as has Shannon our new Sales Associate. And the roof leaked into our office/showroom a bit but nothing catastrophic. No injuries, thankfully. We are hoping we'll be able to recover quickly and avoid delays but I will keep you posted here on the blog. Of course, you can also give us a call or send an email to check on status. As of now, there are no delays that I know of and we will contact you if we see any delays with your order. Thanks for your patience and support!
Tune in to Brattleboro Radio WKVT 92.7 FM / 1490 AM tomorrow morning from 10-11AM to hear Steve West and me chat all about the work of artisans like Chad Woodruff and Greg Goodman and the fact that Vermont is the fine furniture capitol of America.
Many thanks to Steve and Crystal for giving us this opportunity to spread the word about Vermont's awesome furniture makers and our online furniture gallery at Vermont Woods Studios.