December 24th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to our customers, staff, furniture makers, shippers and friends! We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support during this very challenging year at Vermont Woods Studios. We wish you all the best of health and happiness in the coming year. Check back often in 2013 to see the latest progress at Stonehurst, our future fine furniture showroom and nature center. Your encouragement and support are what make this step towards achieving our green mission possible!
December 20th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
In recruiting for six Vermont furniture sales and marketing positions this year, we reviewed over 400 resumes and interviewed dozens of excellent candidates. It’s been a challenging task to find the combination of skills and talent needed to run our online fine furniture gallery. So we feel extremely fortunate to have been able to hire the following superstars for our team: Heather Gantt, Loryn Dion, Heather Barrett, Liz Francese and Sean Henry.
This photo was taken last week when we tasked the freshmen with providing photographic inspiration at the request of Diane Sawyer and the ABC World News crew. If you followed our activities at this time last year, you’ll remember that national news team spent a day filming our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge at our office and all around Vernon, Vermont. This year they were curious about our progress and wanted to learn about any new people we had hired to help grow this American made furniture business.
The Fab Five were most gracious in accommodating ABC’s request for photos and videos so I thought I’d share a few of them here on the blog.
Visit our Facebook to see more photos and our picks for 2012′s best Made in America Christmas gifts.
December 17th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Woohoo! After 5 months of working through engineering and architectural plans for our sustainable Vermont furniture showplace, we have finally been approved by the state of Vermont to begin renovations at Stonehurst. YAY! It’s really not so easy renovating an historic property for commercial use in Vermont but we think it’s worth the trouble.
Vermont requires three permits for this kind of endeavor: a detailed environmental assessment called the Act 250 permit, a water and wastewater permit and a building permit. Together with supporting documentation, the three permits create a stack of paper about a foot high, requiring an army of expert consultants to complete them. And we’re not done. There are many caveats and contingencies that will have to be satisfied as we progress. Ken and I never imagined this extreme when we purchased the building. It was our architect, Jeremy Coleman who walked us through the maze of bureaucracy and red tape and patiently explained the codes and our compliance options.
At first we were in disbelief at the overwhelming extent of requirements and expense to comply with Vermont’s complex codes. There are several government agencies to deal with and get approval from. Sometimes they are at odds with each other. But as we finally get to a point where our plans have been approved and renovations can begin I guess we are beginning to see some method to the madness.
After all Vermont is a very special place for nature lovers and we want it to always stay that way. Detailed environmental and building regulations help to ensure that. Like many Vermont businesses, Vermont Woods Studios is built on a green mission. Ours is forest conservation and environmental preservation, so (in spite of the high cost of regulations) I can’t imagine finding a more suitable home for it than Stonehurst in Vernon, Vermont.
Stay tuned for more updates on our sustainable furniture showroom over the next couple months and plan to visit us for an open house in the early summer. Till then keep updated by subscribing to this blog or visiting our Facebook.
See you at the Grand Opening (TBA)!
December 16th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
There’s a lot of creative energy at Vermont Woods Studios these days and happily we have a number of talented writers who are willing to share our daily goings on through this green furniture blog. Pictured above are Heather Barrett (left) of Brattleboro VT and Loryn Dion (right) of Northfield MA who work long and hard on many aspects of our Vermont furniture store, including keeping you up to date on the latest office shenanigans.
The photo above was taken Friday at our “Made in America” Secret Santa party where each of us gave and received American made Christmas gifts. It’s part of our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge (we figure with Americans spending about $586 Billion this holiday season, if all of those gifts were made in America it could generate 5.8 million jobs. OK we know that not every gift can or should be made in America, but still shopping “American made” can create a lot of jobs).
Anyway, if you want to follow these two creative writers you’ll find their contributions right here every week. Besides keeping us up to date on American made Christmas gift ideas, Heather tends to blog about green furniture, Vermont Travel and all things adventurous and exciting in the Green Mountain state. Loryn’s been keeping her focus on Green decor and interior design but you never know what kind of provocative topics she might wander off into.
To stay in touch with Heather and Loryn, subscribe to this blog on the top right or join their conversations on Facebook. And keep a look out for insider secrets from their newly recruited accomplice, Liz Francese who’ll be taking you on occasional trips behind the veil at Vermont Woods Studios Sales and Customer Service. More about Liz coming soon!
December 14th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Looking for creative Christmas gift idea? Here’s a stocking stuffer for the person who has everything. Skip the Charlie Brown tie or paisley pashmina and give the gift of a food donation in honor of your hard-to-shop-for friend or family member. They’ll be happy (and surprised) to know that your gift to them is helping the 1 in 5 children in Vermont who experience hunger on a regular basis. It’s hard to believe that hunger is a daily reality for so many Vermonters but according to Hunger Free Vermont, 13% of all VT households are food insecure with 85,000 Vermonters unable to afford enough nutritious food.
In Brattleboro, you can find several locations and agencies taking food donations during the holidays. Perhaps the easiest way to donate is to visit any grocery store (like the Brattleboro CoOp shown above) where you’ll find donation baskets at the front of the store. If you don’t want to leave Vernon, stop by our offices at Vermont Woods Studios and drop off your food donation here. We’ll be taking all donations to the Brattleboro Food CoOp on Friday, December 21.
Not in Brattleboro or Vernon, VT? Elsewhere in VT you can find out who’s taking food donations on the Vermont FoodBank website with this nifty Food Shelf Locator. And Feeding America has a zip code locator on their website to help you find locations all across the country that are accepting food donations. Merry Christmas! Let’s hope no one in our communities has to go hungry this holiday season.
December 2nd, 2012 by Loryn Dion
Veterans Day is a time to pause and thank those who served or are serving in our armed forces and support the military. As part of the celebration, Vermont Woods Studios ran a four day benefit sale to raise money to donate to the Adopt a Soldier Program. With $20 of every sale being collected, we are proud to announce that we were able to raise $350 towards adopting Sgt. Peter A. Avila’s family.
Sgt. Peter A. Avila is currently serving with the 25th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade, D Company located in Hawaii. Peter began in the military as a Marine and now is a US Army Soldier. He has served four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and will soon be deployed again. Peter’s wife Crystal is suffering from kidney disease and debilitating complications. Peter and Crystal’s two little boys (Kenan and Kaleb) and a baby girl (Deanna) are growing up without their father’s presence nor do they have family members living close enough to assist in times of need. Many other military families are in similar circumstances, serving their country without complaint.
The Adopt A Soldier website provides easy ways to help, such as:
Thank you to everyone who purchased from us or donated to the Adopt a Soldier Program during Veterans Day this year. And a big thank you to all of our military personnel! That staff at Vermont Woods Studios appreciates the sacrifices and dedication of our service men and women.
November 22nd, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy
This year has flown by so fast at Vermont Woods Studios, it’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is here already. It’s a good time to slow down and reflect on all the blessings we’ve received this year. Our small furniture business and our green mission have been able to move forward by leaps and bounds, in spite of a few setbacks. We are grateful to all our customers, our furniture makers, shippers, vendors, family, friends and neighbors. We’re grateful to Elaine and Bill Ellis who sold us the Stonehurst property, our future fine furniture showroom. But most of all, we are grateful to our wonderful staff who have poured their hearts and minds in to this ambitious venture, amidst the extraordinary challenges a small business faces during these economic times. They make it all happen, they give it their very best and they’re pretty fun to work with too!
So on behalf of this fine Green Team at Vermont’s Online Fine Furniture Store, Ken and I wish you and your family a very happy and relaxing Thanksgiving.
Although I’m not going to encourage shopping on Thanksgiving Day, I do feel like I should tell you that our Black Friday sale has started. No rush though. It runs through today, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Shop till you Drop Sunday and Cyber Monday.
November 19th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
After Hurricane Sandy tore through the Northeastern coast leaving a mess of destruction in her wake, many families had to evacuate their homes and are now living in temporary shelters until they can find a way to put their lives back together. One of the consequences that many people over look when a disaster occurs is what happens to family pets when people move into these shelters. Some shelters will take pets for a few weeks but after that, these families must find other solutions for their animals. Usually this means surrendering them to animal shelters and groups that are already filled with animals displaced by Hurricane Sandy. While local humane societies are doing a fantastic job at keeping up with the influx of abandoned pets, many people are just not willing to part with their beloved pets for good.
Luckily, there’s the Sandy Dog Nannies of Vermont! This group, founded by eight caring individuals, is working on connecting families in need with reliable, acceptable fosters in Vermont. Fosters will take pets in for up to 6-8 months while their owners look for more permanent housing. The group is currently looking for volunteers to foster animals, transport animals from NJ to VT, coordinate transport missions, respite support, perform home inspections and volunteers for general administrative work.
While I wasn’t able to convince Peggy to foster a dog here at the office (yet!), Vermont Woods Studios is currently looking for ways to get involved with the Sandy Dog Nannies. We’ve volunteered to transport dogs to Vermont and conduct home visits before dogs are placed with families. I’ll keep you posted on our progress!
Blood Donations: The American Red Cross is in need of blood donations after the cancellation of over 300 blood drives. A few of us here in the office will be heading into Brattleboro to give blood in a few weeks. (Check back on our blog in early December to see how it went).
Meals on Wheels: Citymeals.org delivers prepared meals to thousands of housebound elderly New Yorkers everyday. After Hurricane Sandy, there was an increased need for non-perishable meals for NY CityMeals recipients. Being volunteers for Meals on Wheels here in Vernon, this organizations’ efforts resonate closely with us. They are accepting monetary donations that are 100% dedicated to the preparation and delivery of meals.
Help by Request: AidMatrix along with the National Donations Management Network and the American Logistics Aid Network has a consolidated list available for responders to see exactly what is currently needed in problem areas.
More Help Links: The New York Times Blog is a great place to find more links and lists of exactly what is needed.
November 14th, 2012 by Loryn Dion
About three weeks ago, we held a one day sale for the Bonnyvale Environmental Educational Center. BEEC is a member-based non profit organization founded in 1991 with the mission to develop a more ecologically informed citizenry through education and action in order to enhance and sustain the vitality of southern Vermont’s bioregion. BEEC organizes and leads many community-based environmental research and conservation programs, including watershed stewardship, reptile and amphibian conservation initiatives, and biodiversity planning and protection.
Last Friday, Manjula and I traveled to BEEC to meet with Patti Smith and Belle Coles, two of BEEC’s amazing staff, to share the details of our sale and present them with a check for $800. They revealed to us that this money will go towards future wildlife rehabilitation efforts that they have been working on. BEEC is currently looking at the feasibility of being a hub for wildlife rehabilitation activities in Southern Vermont. If you would like to learn more about how you can help with their efforts, take their wildlife rehabilitation survey.
Part of our mission is to be involved with local non profit organizations, like BEEC, that support sustainable forestry projects. Vermont Woods Studios was founded to help protect trees and forests around the world, so we take our community service very seriously. We are proud to have been able to support such a great organization and we look forward to working with them again in the very near future!
Follow our blog to learn about how non profit organizations like BEEC fit in to our mission and how Vermont Woods Studios remains active and engaged in our community. You can also check out our Facebook to see other ways that we support local businesses and organizations.
November 11th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Happy Veterans Day and a heartfelt thank you to all our active military personnel and vets. On this day we start to think about the Adopt a Soldier Program we support each holiday season. I know it’s going to be hard for people to give this year, with the poor economy and recent hurricanes. But I hope this program will be a priority for some.
Our veterans, active military personnel and their families make sacrifices most of us cannot even imagine and they are suffering on our behalf. Adopt a Soldier provides a way for you to thank them and truly make a difference in their lives.
The Adopt A Soldier website provides easy ways to help, such as:
For our part at Vermont Woods Studios, we are excited to be adopting Sgt. Peter A. Avila who is currently serving with the 25th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade, D Company located in Hawaii. Peter began in the military as a Marine and now is a US Army Soldier. He has served four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and will soon be deployed again. Peter’s wife Crystal is suffering from kidney disease and debilitating complications. Peter and Crystal’s two little boys (Kenan and Kaleb) and a baby girl (Deanna) are growing up without their father’s presence nor do they have family members living close enough to assist in times of need. Many other military families are in similar circumstances, serving their country without complaint.
This Veterans Day weekend we are donating $20 from each sale towards adoption of Peter’s family. Please consider joining us in providing assistance to military personnel in need this holiday season. Contributions can be made online or at Soldier’s Angels or sent to the Wagram Emanuel Holiness Church, Attn: Sgt. Peter A. Avila, c/o Pastor Ronnie Norton, PO Box 784. Wagram, NC 28936, 910-369-2729.