Part of our feasibility study to see if the Skyline property on Vermont's Hogback Mountain would work for Vermont Woods Studios is anaylzing the possibility of co-locating a cafe or wine bar with the furniture showroom. It's not a real natural combination, is it (furniture and food)?
But two factors keep pointing to the pairing of these functions at Skyline:
- The Skyline location, on top of Hogback Mountain, with it's 100 mile view of the Green Mountain Forest offers what I've been looking for to raise awareness about where your wood furniture comes from. After all, you can buy imported wood furniture anywhere but it's probably going to be made from illegally harvested trees, clear-cut from the world's rapidly disappearing tropical rainforests. Our customers are interested in acquiring heirloom quality, Vermont-made furniture that's crafted from natural, solid, wood that's been sustainably harvested from beautiful, well-managed American forests (more about green, environmental concerns here).
- The other factor is that: How could you operate ANYTHING at Skyline without inviting people to come up and enjoy the view? It would be kinda like that commercial for Ally bank where the guy asks 2 little girls if they'd like a pony. He shows a real pony to one of the girls but only gives her a little figurine instead. The announcer says something like: "even kids know it's wrong to hold out on somebody." That's how I'd feel having a business at Skyline that didn't offer people a place to relax and enjoy the view with a cup of tea or a glass of wine.
So now we're trying to figure out how to strategically pair a Vermont-made furniture showroom with a cafe or wine bar. Allocating space is the conundrum of the day. 60% furniture — 40% cafe? Additional seasonal seating outside? I guess the answers will reveal themselves as we do our research.
Got ideas? Suggestions? Interested in running an upscale cafe at Skyline? Contact us on Facebook and jump into the conversation. We'll be looking for local help as we navigate through the feasibility study and (hopefully) beyond.
Ken and I are under contract at Vermont Woods Studios to purchase the old Skyline Restaurant on Hogback Mountain in Marlboro, Vermont for use as a small furniture showroom, administrative office and cafe. Right now our emphasis is on conducting a feasibility study to see if the property can be renovated to meet our needs.
If you're local to Southeastern Vermont, you no-doubt remember eating a delicious, hearty breakfast at Skyline while enjoying the incredible 100 Mile view. It was the kind of place you thought would always be there for you, the next time you were in the neighborhood. I'm not sure why the restaurant shut down (about 4 years ago?) but it's in pretty bad shape at the moment.
We've been working with Jeremy Coleman of J Coleman & Company Architects on evalutaing the condition of Skyline's heating, air conditioning, plumbing and structure these past couple weeks to see which systems will have to be totally gutted and replaced and which, if any may be partially salvaged. It looks to me like there will be a lot of replacement.
If you're in the area or you're interested in green building or the story of Skyline, keep an eye on our project through this blog and Facebook. We'll be posting progress as we go. If Skyline is a feasible location for a Vermont made furniture showroom and we do end up purchasing the property, we'll be looking for local help to transform it. Contact us if you interested in getting involved.
Remember this photo? Well, I mentioned in the summer that Ken and I were looking to purchase a property that Vermont Woods Studios Furniture could call home.
This week we signed an offer to purchase the old Skyline Restaurant property on Route 9 in Marlboro, Vermont (across from the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum and Giftshop). It's just a first step and there are many hurdles to be jumped before a sale can happen but even so, we're pretty excited about it. And nervous.
We looked at dozens of properties throughout southern Vermont (courtesy of Suzanne King at Masiello Real Estate) and liked this one best because of its beautiful location in the foothills of the Green Mountain National Forest. We wanted a place where we could welcome customers and let them experience the link between Vermont's handmade wood furniture and the forest where it comes from.
So today starts our journey to take Vermont Woods Studios to the next level. We'll keep you posted as to how things go. We were lucky enough to persuade Brattleboro's best architect (J Coleman and Co) and engineer (Stevens and Associates PC) to help us out by doing some initial feasibility studies to see if the (distressed) Skyline property and existing building are up to the task of renovation and re-birth. We'll be immersed in that assessment for probably the next couple months. We'll be asking your opinion as we go– either through the comment link below or on our Facebook or preferably over a glass of wine in our kitchen.
We're looking to make this a green project that produces a showroom worthy of the elegant handmade furniture inside and the incredible natural beauty of the Green Mountains outside. Check back in now and then and give us your thoughts and advice.