-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.
… GFF president confident of Nations League successBy Rawle Toney in Las VegasCompliments of Guyana Chronicle and Let’s Bet Sports)THE Golden Jaguars, Guyana’s senior Men’s National football team, will face Aruba, Antigua & Barbuda and Jamaica, in Group C of League B in the CONCACAF Nations League.The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) held its official draw for the 2019 CONCACAF Nations League, at the Chelsea Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was conducted by CONCACAF Chief Football Officer Manolo Zubiria and the confederation’s Director of Development and former Grenada international footballer, Jason Roberts.The home-and-away group stage of the 2019 CONCACAF Nations League will be played on FIFA match dates in September, October and November 2019, while the Final Championship will take place in 2020.Additionally, the teams at the bottom of each League A and B group will be relegated to League B and C.By virtue of finishing seventh in the qualifying stages of the competition, Guyana were pitted in League B; something Wayne Forde, president of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) says he’s comfortable with, given the fact that he’s confident that the Golden Jaguars will hold their own against the Reggae Boyz, Antigua and Aruba.“I know that the countries that would have done well will try to do better and those that might not have done good enough, are going to be making the investment because of the attention this Nations League is getting globally and within the region. It’s going to push member associations to make the investment,” Forde told Chronicle Sport in an exclusive interview in Las Vegas.Forde further added: “My only hope as in the case of Guyana, where the government has come on board in some measure and helped us. That will deepen and we’ll have a greater partnership with the Government and corporate Guyana to help us. I’m wishing similar success for my brothers and sisters within the region.”“I’m excited, I’m not afraid of this group, I think we have the players and we’re continuing to do our work at home and do our procuring abroad to find players that we think can really complement the squad. Coach (Michael) Johnson is optimistic and inspired,” said the GFF boss.Guyana qualified for their first-ever Men’s Gold Cup tournament and will feature in the June 15 – July 7 event. As Forde related that he believes Guyana will be very competitiveness and I’m absolutely confident that we will be a permanent fixture for two consecutive years at the CONCACAF Gold Cup for two consecutive years.”The groups for the 2019 CONCACAF Nations League are as follows (listed in the order drawn):LEAGUE AGroup A – USA, Canada and CubaGroup B – Mexico, Panama and BermudaGroup C – Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique and HondurasGroup D – Haiti, Curaçao and Costa RicaLEAGUE BGroup A – French Guiana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Belize and GrenadaGroup B – El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia and Montserrat.Group C: Jamaica, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda and Aruba.Group D: Nicaragua, Suriname, St Vincent and the Grenadines and DominicaLEAGUE CGroup A: Barbados, Cayman Islands, Saint Martin and U.S. Virgin IslandsGroup B: Bonaire, Bahamas and British Virgin IslandsGroup C: Guatemala, Puerto Rico and AnguillaGroup D: Guadeloupe, Turks and Caicos and Sint MaartenAt the conclusion of the group stage, the winners of each League A group will qualify to the Final Championship, while Leagues B and C group winners will be promoted to Leagues A and B for the next edition of the competition.