About Anna Rubin

Anna is the Vice President of the St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce and leads the marketing and promotions committee. She is director of external relations at the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium.

Summer Concert Series

Dog Mountain Concert Series To Kick-Off In July

by Todd Wellington (published in the Caledonian-Record, Apr 29, 2017; Updated Apr 30, 2017)

There’s a new concert series coming to town this year and it promises to be no ordinary event.

Catamount Arts, in partnership with the non-profit Levitt Foundation of Los Angeles, California, is producing 12 weeks of concerts at Dog Mountain on Spaulding Road from July 16 to mid-September. All the shows are free, dog friendly and open to the public.

“The whole idea of theses concerts is to build community,” said Catamount Arts Executive Director Jody Fried at a meeting of the St. Johnsbury Select Board Monday. Fried was at the meeting requesting approval to contract with St. Johnsbury Police for security at the shows. The request was granted and while he was there Fried briefed the board about the series.

“They’re free and we’re gonna have a shuttle running up there and so we’re hoping that we’ll have lots of residents partaking in it,” said Fried. “We’ll be happy if this first year we have 300-500 people at these concerts. We could have a lot more than that. We’re doing a lot of work to promote it.”

The artist line-up has not been announced yet but Fried said it would include “Grammy nominated” acts. The concerts will be held on the new portable main stage unit Catamount just purchased. There will also be a beer tent on site.

Fried said the Levitt Foundation has a long history of producing similar concerts across the country.

“This is what they do,” said Fried. “They run six permanent venues that are 10,000 person-plus venues and then they have 15 locations across the country that are in rural areas.”

Fried qualified that statement by noting that St. Johnsbury may be the only actual “rural” community hosting Levitt concerts this summer which were chosen by public voting.

“I would say St. Johnsbury is an anomaly,” said Fried. “The next closest in terms of size is 80 thousand people in population and they go up to 400,000 in population.”

“The first step in this was public voting. There were 50 applications submitted and we came in 2nd place in the country out of those 50 applications in terms of the votes for – so we really mobilized and it had to be unique votes so they actually checked to make sure that the same person wasn’t voting more than once,” said Fried.

“It was funny, when we went out to Los Angeles and met with all these folks the first thing they asked was how the heck did you do it with the population that you have? And we responded when it comes to these arts and culture events we have major support. So I think we ended up with over 3,000 votes who’s pretty significant if you consider our population.

St. Johnsbury Selectman Jamie Murphy said he thought the concert series at Dog Mountain was an great idea.

“I think it’s a great event for St. Johnsbury and I think the town should support it any way we can,” said Murphy. Murphy abstained from voting on the police request because the Kingdom Tap Room – of which he is part owner – hopes to provide the beer for the event.

Selectman Jeff Jeff Moore also spoke in favor of the concerts.

“I think it’s a good idea and a good opportunity to promote our town,” said Moore.

Fried said other communities across the country have used the Levitt concerts to boost their local economies long term.

“We would certainly like the town to be involved and to leverage this,” said Fried. “This is something that will hopefully bring some positive energy to the whole community.”

“When we went out there and we met with these towns – the ones that have done it multiple years that are in like year 2, 3 or 4 – what’s happened in terms of their towns and the transformation that’s taken place has been pretty remarkable. Private investment has come in, there’s been housing in some of the locations. I can really see this having a catalytic effect if we can get behind it.

“You know, we sit through meetings and we talk about how do you get the young professionals to come into to town. This is the kind of stuff they want to come to and bring their families to,” said Fried.

Road Pitch 2017

Road Pitch 2017 is looking for you!

Road Pitch is a statewide business competition presented by Fresh Tracks Capital.  The event is returning to St. Johnsbury on August 4th!

Do you have an innovative product or a creative business concept you would like to develop? Do you need help producing your product or capitalizing your business? Want to meet with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who are combing Vermont’s highways and byways in search of a great idea? Who wouldn’t benefit from  some presentation coaching in order to bring your pitch to perfection? This is your chance to test your concepts and talk through your business plan with business leaders who are eager to support your dreams.

Road Pitch 2017 is an opportunity for Entrepreneurs to win cash prizes, receive helpful feedback from experts, and seek investors and funding.  A team of savvy business bikers will be traveling across Vermont in August looking for investment opportunities. For more about the 2017 Road Pitch team, click here.

Click here for your 2017 Road Pitch Application.

Please return your completed application to Lorna Higgs, Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA), 36 Eastern Ave., St. Johnsbury by Friday, June 30.

The business competition is presented by NVDA, NCIC, the Town of St. Johnsbury and St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce. Catamount Arts will host the August 4th event.

Questions?  Lorna Higgs, NVDA (802) 424-1421; Irene Nagle, NVDA (802) 424-1423;

Joe Kasprzak, Assistant Town Manager (802) 748-3926

Mike Welch, NCIC (802) 748-5101, ext. 2025

Business MicroGrants

Grants for Small Businesses!

Do you own or manage a small, emerging, or seasonal business that is based in St. Johnsbury? Do you need some support to help your business become established or grow?

The St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce now offers Business MicroGrants of $1,000 to help your business thrive.

Business MicroGrants can be used to pay for web and graphic design, photography, a marketing plan, lawyer’s fees, or building enhancement design (such as interior, window, or façade improvement design).

Applications are due on May 1, 2017, and projects must be completed by July 31, 2017.

“Small investments can have enormous payoffs,” says Tara Holt, director of the St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce. “These Business MicroGrants emerged as a priority for businesses.” Applications will be reviewed by a committee established to support small and emerging businesses in St. J. “This is something real that we can offer to entrepreneurs who are getting started or seeking to grow their business.”

The St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce received support for this initiative from the US Department of Agriculture – Rural Development to jump-start our local economy. “We’ve collected a list of advisors who specialize in the services small businesses need to succeed,” says Holt.

Click below for your Business MicroGrant application.

Click here more about the St. Johnsbury MicroGrant program.

World Maple Festival

Saturday, April 29, 2017!

The sweetest festival comes to St. J, a longtime sugaring center in New England. According to Scott Beck, the Festival organizer, “The St. Johnsbury World Maple Festival celebrates the history and heritage of the Maple Syrup Industry, and St. Johnsbury’s status as the Maple Center of the World.”

What that means for thousands of us who enjoy the music, food, and local crafts is a chance to sample some of the finest syrup in New England and reconnect with friends and neighbors in our lovely downtown. There’s something for everyone, starting with a 5k Sap Lap and pancake breakfast at the Welcome Center and continuing with craft and food vendors along Railroad Street through 4PM. Music fills the air, along with the unmistakable sweetness of our very own taste sensation. For more about the Festival and how to get involved, click here.

The Maple Festival features Maple Grove Farms of Vermont, the largest packer of Pure Maple Syrup in the USA and one of the largest manufacturers of Maple Candies in the world. Maple Grove Farms has been perfecting maple confections in St. J since 1915!

There’s a lot to celebrate.

 

 

Community Report

2016 Yearbook Published!

St. Johnsbury has a lot going on. Thanks to active and engaged neighbors and friends, our community continues to show strength. The trends might not fit the mold of what you’d expect — most rural communities of 7,600 people are experiencing stress as we adjust to increasing pressure from online shopping and demographic shifts. However, St. Johnsbury’s high points are its close-knit neighborhoods, where people come together and host incredible events; healthy lifestyle and access to recreation; and our home-grown entrepreneurial spirit. St. Johnsbury is rich with traditions that are celebrated on our Arts & Culture Campus.

This 2016 Community Report tells our story.

You can download this report here: Community Report2016FINAL.

Please keep the conversation going by letting us know what you think.

Back to Business

What’s new in our downtown?

Have you noticed the new lights on Railroad Street? The freshly paved sidewalks are holding up under our winter weather, making it easier to park, shop, and dine downtown. Are there other improvements you’ve noticed or would like to see?

Every year, the St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce takes stock of the investments that contribute to the overall improvements in our designated downtown. That means, we gather information from about private and public sector investment, business and job growth, and local contributions. Gary Holloway, director of the Vermont Downtown Program, explains, “These statistics are used by the Vermont Downtown Program, local and state officials, and downtown organizations. The statistics document the progress and successes of state and local programs over time and demonstrate the economic benefit to local communities.”

Facade improvements on Eastern Ave were eligible for tax credits because of St. Johnsbury’s Designated Downtown status.

We’ll be collecting information about facade renovations, such as

  • New and/or replacement signage
  • Awnings
  • Windows
  • Doorways
  • Cleaning of exterior brick, pointing, paint enhancements
  • Wood, masonry, or other physical repairs to any building storefront

Other building improvements, including

  • Renovations/construction expenses
  • Elevator installation
  • Painting
  • Carpeting
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical

If you have made improvements to your building, that can be counted as part of a downtown investment, please let us know by contacting Tara Holt (director@discoverstjohnsbury.com).

 

KCP Presents: Momix

Feb 17 – Lyndon Institute

“They are inspired vaudevillians, creating slapstick, science fiction and improvisational surprise. Such quick, bright explosions of theatricality are delightful tricks and crowd pleasers. Their audience floats out on a dizzying high of pleasure.” – Chicago Tribune

Celebrated for its exceptional inventiveness and ability to conjure a world of surrealistic images and stunning physical beauty, MOMIX is a captivating company of dance-illusionists under the direction of Northeast Kingdom native Moses Pendleton, co-founder of the groundbreaking Pilobolus Dance Theater, and his wife, Cynthia Quinn. Masters of multimedia spectacle, MOMIX creates a visually arresting theatrical experience full of whimsy, sensuality, beauty and intrigue.

Get your tickets now.

“Pendleton brings beauty, mystery, emotion, and uproarious fun to the table.” — Philadelphia Inquirer

Save 20% when you buy by January 18th. Discount is automatically reflected when you choose your seats.

Seniors and Catamount Arts members save $3.00 when ordering in person with id at the box office.

All check out totals will reflect additional 10% box office fee plus state taxes.

Catamount Arts Boxoffice

Free Business Workshops

Calling Women Entrepreneurs!

For those who are considering applying for an ASPIRE! award for women whose businesses are in Essex, Caledonia, and Orleans counties, participation in one of the January workshops is REQUIRED to receive an application. Workshops are listed on the ASPIREforwomenentrepreneurs.com website and on https://www.facebook.com/NEKCAAspire. Enrollment for application for an ASPIRE! award will close at the end of January, so please share this news and attend a workshop.

January 12

Registering your Business with the VT Secretary of State, offered by NEKCA’s Micro Business Development Project’s Director Amy Robinson 10:30 to noon at t VSECU in St. Johnsbury. Registering your business trade name is REQUIRED to apply for an ASPIRE! award and this workshop will explain different types of business incorporation choices and how to navigate the Secretary of State’s website to register. Please let us know if you plan to attend.

January 17

At the Northern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury in room 127 in the business center: Steps to Growing a Business – a 2-hour session for existing businesses looking to expand. This workshop covers basic strategies to grow the revenue base and formalize a company. Clients identify the business’s stage in growth, learn the difference between business and strategic planning, makes an inventory of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and learn quick, effective ways to grow a business, from 11-1. Then from 4-7: Is Entrepreneurship Right for You – clients can learn about the process to developing a business idea & starting a business, explore the risks & rewards of entrepreneurship, and gain skills in assessing if the client is ready to start a business and Steps to Starting a Business – a technical class where clients explore the technical side of starting a business by acquiring licensing, permits, EIN, insurance, and legal entities. The class also introduces clients to the business plan and business modeling process.Thank you to NVRH for offering refreshments! and to sponsor, Passumpsic Savings Bank! Please let us know if you plan to attend.Diana M. Henry, Project Manager, ASPIRE! 802-334-7054 https://www.facebook.com/NEKCAAspire/?pnref=story dmhenry@nekcavt.org https://aspireforwomenentrepreneurs.com

Downtown Update

Tax Credits for You.

Do you own a business or property in downtown St. J? One benefit of our Designated Downtown status is access to tax credits for certain eligible investments to infrastructure, façade, technology and accessibility.

The most recent project to receive tax credits is the building at 190 Eastern Avenue, currently home to Armstrong’s Better Hearing, All About Flowers, The Law Office of William P. Neylon, Alison Despathy, Nutritionist, and Café at Gatto Nero Press.  Building owner Marc Larose restored the granite and beadboard fascia, updated the fire suppression system, and restored the front windows to their original design.

The next deadline for applications to have your project considered is July 1, 2017.  The application will be available in April 2017. If you are interested and would like to learn more about the application process, please contact Tara Holt, director, St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce at director@discoverstjohnsbury.com.

Send Us Your Updates!

We are getting ready to submit our annual count to the board of the VT Agency of Commerce and Community Development regarding infrastructure investments, data upgrades, employment statistics and numbers of active volunteers contributing to the vibrancy of our downtown.

Please send any updates you have regarding your business in any of those areas to director@discoverstjohnsbury.com.

All data is compiled and presented to the state as total numbers, and is not associated with individual business or property owners.

The St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce is both a business network and a designated downtown organization. Our aim is to make St. J a destination to live, work and play.

First Night North

Nearly 100 acts fill every venue in town with music, dance, laughter, and celebration! Start your 2017 in St. J!

Nearly 100 acts fill every venue in town with music, dance, laughter, and celebration! Start your 2017 in St. J!

Arts & Culture extravaganza!

First Night North in St. Johnsbury 2017 welcomes nearly 100 shows by 340 performers in 54 different acts. Of these acts, 20 are making their First Night debuts, and four more are returning after several years’ hiatus. It all takes place from 4 pm to midnight.

First Night falls on Saturday this year, so come early and stay late to take in as much entertainment as you can in eight hours, plus those intense fireworks in the first 20 minutes of 2017.

Jay Sprout, President of First Night North, describes what’s new.

First Night NorthAs always, the majority of First Night artists are musicians. Our region’s rich musical scene features about as many genres as you can shake a stick, or a conductor’s baton, at — classical and pop, early and contemporary, folk and rock, jazz and bluegrass, sacred and silly, covers and originals, opera and, well, others.

This amazing array of artists are singer-songwriters and choruses, bands and an orchestra, comedy troupes and stand-up comics, poets and puppeteers, storytellers and galaxy guides, modern dancers and fire dancers, organists and pianists, a harpist and a guitarist, a magician and a hypnotist, and maybe a few more!

FFirst Night Northind the full schedule and videos here.

And with New Year’s Day on a Sunday, we have lined a series of events to celebrate the holiday: a worship service, two special dances, and a polar bear dip in a freezing lake!

Buy your First Night North Button.