Allen Pools and Spas named Vermont Retailer of the Year

first_img-30- Allen Pool, Spas & Chemical Corp,Tasha Wallis, Executive Director of the Vermont Retail Association (VRA) announced today the winners of the 2010 VRA Retailer of the Year (ROY) Awards. In 2009, VRA inaugurated the ROYs to recognize the ‘best of the best’ in the retail industry, which is a major sector of Vermont’s economy. Retailers employ more Vermonters’over 37,000’than any other business sector except health care, accounting for 14% of the entire work force.All Vermont businesses engaged in retail operations are eligible for nomination and consideration for the ROYs.  After considering numerous nominations, this year’s panel of judges from the business community chose to honor these winners:RETAILER OF THE YEARHonoring a Vermont retailer for Overall Excellence Allen Pools and Spas Rutland  White River Jct.  Williston Contact: Tom Colman  [email protected](link sends e-mail)  (802) 288-9028Excellence and growth go hand in hand, and no better proof exists than this year’s ROY winner.  Allen Pools and Spas has grown steadily for more than a half-century, even posting a 20% growth in 2009, one of the toughest economic years in memory. What’s more, in 2010 they added 20% growth onto that!Dan Allen, Sr. started the company in his Rutland home in 1957.  Today, it has 33 employees in three thriving stores. Allen Pools and Spas is not only growing and prosperous–it is truly a “corporation with a conscience.” Its primary products–HotSpring Portable Spas–are silent, use little documented electricity, and are virtually chemical free.  The company also launched its “A.T.P.” program in 2010, providing free removal and environmentally friendly disposal of old spas, along with charitable donations with proceeds from salvaged spas.In 2010, Allen Pools and Spas received the highest honor from the world’s leading manufacturer of spas, HotSpring Spas.  The award citation read, in part, ‘Their determination, dedication, loyalty, and passion for customer satisfaction never falters. They excel in every way.”That says it all about Allen Pools and Spas.  Tom Colman, sales manager, summarizes Mr. Allen’s 53 year success story like this: “Ed Allen has never thrown any idea under the bus. He is the Ben Franklin of the modern business world!’GREENTAILER OF THE YEARHonoring A Vermont Retailer For Environmental Excellence The Outdoor Gear Exchange Burlington Contact:  Marc Sherman  [email protected](link sends e-mail)  802-383-0382 x300The Outdoor Gear Exchange could be the prototypical 21st-century business model, and the differences start right at the top. Marc Sherman is the 15-year old company’s founder. In the old paradigm, his title would be ‘President and CEO,’ or some other official-sounding label. He prefers ‘Visionary.’‘GearX’ was born in a discussion around an Adirondack campfire and the forward-thinking design was part of Sherman’s vision from day one. That vision included a three-phase mission statement. The first year focus was on customers: ‘We have fun outdoors and want people to enjoy themselves in our store.’ In the second year, it expanded to include staff:  ‘Our staff, a most crucial ingredient in our overall success, is empowered to question, change, and improve our business.’  And after the third year, it embraced the community as well: ‘At the Outdoor Gear Exchange, we strongly believe in a responsible environmental stewardship. We strive to run our business in a way that promotes our staff, local community, and outdoor industry as a wholeâ ¦’Outdoor Gear Exchange’s commitment to the environment is total. Company founder Sherman serves on the Burlington Public Works Commission. The company contributes to the Conservation Alliance, donates a nickel for every bag not used, has virtually eliminated the use of paper, offsets trade show travel with carbon credits, and uses compact fluorescent bulbs and UV tinted glass to reduce energy costs. And those are just a few of its overall environmental initiatives. Together, they form the solid foundation of a company where ethical behavior and environmental protection top the list of goals.COMMUNITY GEMHonoring Vermont Retailers Who Make Unique And Valuable Contributions To Their Communities The Old Brick Store Charlotte Contact:  Carrie MacKillop  [email protected](link sends e-mail)  (802) 425-2421A Vermont village’s store plays a crucial role for its community, customers, owners, and visitors. One of the state’s most remarkable and venerated such establishments is Charlotte’s Old Brick Store, which had been operating since 1853. By 2008, though, the cherished icon had come on hard times. With bare shelves, cash flow down to a trickle, and renovations urgently needed, its ultimate demise seemed inevitable. Most potential purchasers would turn and run fast from such a decrepit property, but its very need was what attracted current owner/operator Carrie MacKillop most. ‘I needed something to dive into,’ she recalls. MacKillop purchased the store in January of 2009, with a plan for resurrecting the moribund landmark that was definitely not business as usual. From the outset, MacKillop intended to pursue ‘convenience with a conscience,’ re-inventing the historic store as a Community Supported Enterprise (CSE). In line with that, she sold memberships to raise money for much-needed renovations. Investors became members and would be reimbursed in store credits plus 10%.  No fewer than 90 families bought in, generating enough revenue for the renovations.       The Old Brick Store reopened on March 1, 2009 and has been flourishing ever since, offering food to rave about and a wide variety of beverages and wines. The store is still quintessentially Vermont, the rough edges here and there part of its inherent beauty. But the times have brought at least one 21st century necessity:  lattes are available. The vibrant new business generated a laudatory article in the Burlington Free Press. MacKillop herself penned an editorial for a local paper that eloquently captures the spirit and letter of her creation:   ‘The Brick represents childhood, adulthood, transitions and passages. It gives basis to vacation memories and the days of summer. People love the Brick not because of the goods it provides, but because of the memories it holds.’‘Judging to select winners was extremely challenging this year,’ noted Tasha Wallis. ‘There were so many outstanding retailers under consideration. But in the end, the three recipients stood out for the variety and quality of their laudable practices.The ROYs will be presented to the winners by Bonnie Hawley, President of VRA’s Board of Trustees, in an awards ceremony on Tuesday November 9 at 2 p.m. at Table 24 in Rutland.  The press is invited to attend.last_img read more

Subsidy cuts result in sharp drop in U.K. residential solar installations

first_imgSubsidy cuts result in sharp drop in U.K. residential solar installations FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:The Labour party has accused the government of “actively dismantling” the UK’s solar power industry after new installations by households collapsed by 94% last month.Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, used prime minister’s questions to challenge the government’s record on climate action after scrapping subsidies for domestic solar panels from April. Standing in for Jeremy Corbyn, Long-Bailey said solar power had the potential to cut household bills and carbon emissions while creating thousands of jobs.The solar feed-in tariff had encouraged more than 800,000 homes to fit to their roofs solar photovoltaics, the panels which generate electricity. The end of the scheme was widely expected after a series of cuts to subsidy levels in recent years.Renewable energy developers and green groups had hoped ministers would replace the scheme with another incentive system to avoid dashing the sector’s momentum and accelerating job losses in the industry. Instead, officials confirmed that new solar pv installations would be expected to give their unused clean power to energy companies for free.The opposition said data showed the scrapping of home panel subsidies from April caused new solar power capacity to fall from 79MW in March to only 5MW last month. The slowdown poses a big risk to plans put forward by the independent Committee on Climate Change to create a net zero carbon economy by 2045.More: Home solar panel installations fall by 94% as subsidies cutlast_img read more

3 questions that enable leaders to call for commitments

first_img 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Back on the farm, we threw bales of hay down from the hay loft to feed the cows. Our cat waited for us to lift a bale to see if there might be a mouse nest. Most of the time, when mice went running, the cat came up empty. He couldn’t commit to one mouse when so many were present.Options are shiny distractions that drain energy and dilute opportunity until commitments are made.The courage of commitment is the ability to eradicate options.Lead team members to make commitments:It doesn’t matter how many alternatives are on the table if you don’t understand the power and cost of eliminating options. continue reading »last_img

House fire in Binghamton, area roped off

first_imgBINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Binghamton Police have blocked off an area due to a house fire at 69 Beethoven Street. Stay with 12 News as we continue to monitor this developing story. Binghamton Fire officials told 12 News there are no injuries, and the cause of the fire is currently under investigation.center_img Our 12 News crew on the scene says officers have cautioned off an area in front of recreation park which runs from Schubert Street to Seminary Avenue.last_img