It's been well over a year now since we began our search for a new home for Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture. Our amazing realtor, Suzanne King of Masiello Realty in Brattleboro VT has been incredibly patient and helpful. She's showed us dozens of possible properties and lived through the whole disappointing saga of Skyline, a property we fell in love with last year which did not work out for us.
Now we're working on acquiring Stonehurst, a beautiful old farmhouse property located right here in Vernon VT (that's just part of the backyard shown on the left. Here's a photo of the main house). It's on 109 acres of forested land with scenic views all the way down to the Connecticut River. It used to be a ski area, Pine Top.
Our plan is to do a green renovation of the property and transform it into a luxury, destination shopping experience for customers seeking Vermont's handcrafted, sustainable furniture. What do you think? Is this the kind of place you'd be interested in if you were shopping for fine wood furniture? Let me know in the comments section below or on our Facebook.
Vermont art lovers, take note: this is your big chance to acquire an original painting by our friend, neighbor and renowned Vermont artist Donna Scully.
Donna is cleaning out her studio to make room for new inspirations and new artwork. So lucky for us, all of her inventory is on sale at prices you won't be able to resist. I stopped by Donna's studio yesterday and found this beautiful iris painting ready for sale. I snapped it up and it's hanging in our showroom today.
Here's a link to Donna's Facebook where you can see examples of some of her work. Many of you have taken painting lessons from Donna and followed her world travels as she's shared her talents with fans all over the country and the globe. For those new to Donna's work, I can say that she is an extraordinary artist who's very approachable and a joy to work with. Looking for something special for a particular place in your home? Commission Donna to paint exactly what you want. It's a luxury you can afford and one you'll enjoy always.
Vermont Woods Studios is growing. Maybe you've noticed that we have a few new faces in our small office/furniture showroom on Fort Bridgeman Road in Vernon. There are 9 of us now, plus a couple summer interns. Hard to believe!
Everyone's being a real good sport about the occasional crowding. On nice days we think up excuses to work outside at the picnic (conference) table and that helps. But clearly it's time to scout around for a new home.
This is one possibility we're looking at. It's an old (circa 1800) farmhouse that was transformed into a local ski area in the 1940s. Great story.
We're looking at a number of other options as well and I'll share more pictures as we journey through the process of finding the one that works best for us. Stay tuned and let me know what you think on our Facebook page.
There are only about 2200 of us here in Vernon Vermont, the home of Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture. So we typcially run into Brattleboro a couple times a week to get our necessities in terms of food, arts, movies, music, shopping and such. It's an artsy town with a decidedly green personality.
Brattleboro's Food Co-op is one of the biggest and best in our state, as is the local Farmer's Market. Many restaurants like The Works and The Marina serve local, organic food. And of course the area is full of small organic farms like Malhana Farm, Relly Bubs and Lilac Ridge.
I wasn't a bit surprised to see Brattleboro make #11 on a list of the “20 Best Small Towns in America” in Smithsonian Magazine's May issue. The editor said the number one criteria for making the list was culture: "a high concentrations of museums, historic sites, botanic gardens, resident orchestras, art galleries and other cultural assets common to big cities". But they were looking for small towns with populations less than 25,000, "so travelers could experience what might be called enlightened good times in an unhurried, charming setting".
When you're heading north into Vermont from New York, Connecticut or Massachusetts, Brattleboro is the first Vermont exit off I-91. And Vernon is just a few miles South on Route 142. Stop in, stroll around downtown, have a cup of Mocha Joe's coffee and see if you agree with the Smithsonian. We think you will!
Our good friend Annette owns Malhana Farm on Pond Road, just down the street from Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture in Vernon, Vermont.
When we first started out in business, Annette let us use part of her farmhouse as a showroom and office. In return we did occasional chores like feeding the chickens or bringing in firewood. One March morning our salesperson Susan Holmquist got to work around 8am and was pressed into service helping to pull a new colt out of his mother's womb! I was so jealous that day.
Anyway, March is baby horse month and Annette's (actually Jeff and Andrea's) newest baby just arrived 3 days ago. Isn't she beautiful? She's really tall. It's amazing Copper carried her around so long– a month past her due date.
Everyone in Vernon stops in the middle of the road as they're going by Malhana Farm now. The whole town ached for Copper as she stood out there in the pasture so stoically, getting bigger and bigger every day. We're all excited to see her with her beautiful new baby and know they are both doing well. Horse lovers can find additional photos on Pinterest.
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.
Please stop by the Vermont Woods Studios showroom this week and pick up tickets for the Spagetti Dinner Fundraiser that Patty O'Donnell has organized for the family of Eric Pratt. Eric's life was tragically taken at age 15, in a train accident 2 weeks ago here in Vernon. His dad, Mike Pratt, who is a volunteer with the Vernon fire department was the first responder on the scene the night of the accident. We ask for your prayers and support of this young family.
The spagetti dinner is this Thursday, Feb 9 at the Vernon Elementary School on Governor Hunt Rd in Vernon with seatings at 5pm and 6pm. Tickets are $10/adult and $5/child.
Donations in memory of Eric can be sent to the Vernon Elementary School 381 Governor Hunt Rd Vernon, VT 05354 or directly to the family at the same address. Please pass this message on.
At last, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer ran the segment on our "Made in America" Holiday Shopping Challenge yesterday. YAY! Here is the link to view it online. We'd like to thank ABC producers Christine Brozyna and Eric Noll for coming to Vernon to film the segment. Theirs' is not an easy job.
When Christine and Eric came to Vermont last month it was because they had read a blog about our "Made in America" project way back in September. They were impressed that such a small company would take on a project about creating American jobs and they wanted to put the size and strength of ABC behind it.
Well, a lot of time has passed since then and I'm sure that as each new idea came into the newsroom, our story morphed depending on the context of the day. There were a couple times we were considered for inclusion in earlier segments but for whatever reason they fell through. In the end we were pretty disappointed to see that our segment really wasn't about the jobs or the furniture being created by small independent companies like Vermont Woods Studios or Woodruff Custom Furniture.
Instead we got spun into a segment on American schools. Go figure. But it was indeed an educational experience, learning how news stories get created (I'll be much more wary now, about believing what I see in the news). We're trying to just be grateful for the fact that ABC has been able to raise awareness (much more than we ever could) all across the country about the jobs that can be created by buying American made holiday gifts.
Everyone has been asking me to keep them posted about when the Vernon, Vermont segment of ABC's Made in America Christmas Shopping Challenge is going to air. I just spoke to Christine Brozyna, the producer from ABC World News. Vernon's segment is tentatively planned for next Monday or Tuesday, Dec 12 or 13. If they can't fit it in then, Christine said they'll probably push it back– to the following Mon or Tues, Dec 19 or 20. No promises on the schedule though.
If you live in Vernon and want additional information, check our Vermont Furniture Facebook. We hope to see you on TV! Keep you fingers crossed for Monday or Tuesday.
I am really sorry if, like us, you were watching ABC World News with Diane Sawyer last night for a segment on our Made in America Christmas Shopping Challenge. We weren't there
After the show I guess I received about- oh a hundred or so phone calls, emails, tweets and Facebook posts from our friends, relatives, customers and neighbors asking what went wrong. I sent a panicked email off to ABC's producer, Christine Brozyna and she was nice enough to respond immediately saying that time constraints prevented our segment from being aired on schedule. I guess this is not unusual as the news is never predictable. Anyway, Christine assured me that our segment is still in the works and will be aired in the near future. She will let me know when that is and I'll post it here and on our facebook.
In the meantime I want to thank everyone for watching and for their interest in our project. What amazes me most about this is how far a little town like Vernon reaches out into the world (remember the six degrees of separation theory). People from all over Vermont and the Northeast were watching and waiting to see their friends and relatives from Vernon. Jane and Larry Brown had the whole island of St John watching too. Manjula's family and friends in India were watching. Ken and I got texts from all across the country- even from people we haven't spoken to in years who were watching and I'm sure the same goes for everyone else who was in the segment. With all that goodwill on our side, I can't help but be confident that the segment will indeed air soon and shine a light on the little community that started this whole Made in America Christmas Shopping Challenge, made famous by ABC.