Two Brothers Tavern, Rotary Club of Middlebury and Paul Ralston Are 2015 Chamber Award RecipientsBy Sue Hoxie
Also New Board of Directors is Elected for 2015-16
Middlebury, Vermont – October 5, 2015 – The Addison County Chamber of Commerce recognized a local business, non-profit organization, and individual with awards during its annual meeting held on October 1st at Tourterelle Restaurant & Inn, New Haven, Vt. Three awards were presented in front of a crowd of 80 plus attendees which included Chamber members and local business people.
Two Brothers Tavern, located in Middlebury, was presented with the 2015 Business of the Year Award which recognizes businesses that have grown, sometimes despite adversity, while providing excellent products or service while doing well by their employees and the community.
Two Brothers Tavern is a family-run business that opened in Middlebury in 2002. In addition to its great products and superior customer service, Two Brothers is recognized for its generosity to the community and willingness to help other organizations. By the number of groups they support and contribute to, you would assume they never say “no”.
Two Brothers Tavern is strongly supportive of our community, in a variety of ways. They hold special dining nights that benefit local organizations and host special fundraising events such as the annual Face Off Against Breast Cancer party, Cocktails Curing Cancer, the Adam Myers Memorial Fundraiser, Porter Hospital Auxiliary’s Beat Back the Blues, among others. They always lead the charge by organizing and participating in community events such as the Vermont Chili Festival. They employ and serve many members of our community, as well as visitors throughout the year. Their weekly trivia and open mic nights, live music for all tastes, makes Two Brothers a community meeting place that appeals to residents, visitors, as well as Middlebury College’s student population.
In addition to the Business of the Year award, the Addison County Chamber presented its 2015 Buster Brush Citizen of the Year Award to Paul Ralston, owner of Vermont Coffee Company, who exemplifies the criteria for which the award is given—a history of getting things done to make the community better in a variety of ways, with no intention of personal reward or recognition.
Ralston has both started businesses and helped other businesses reach new levels. While he now runs a successful business, Vermont Coffee Company, he is probably more proud of doing his business “right”. He cares deeply for his employees and respects that they are the most important part of his business. He respects the environment and will not cut corners to advance his bottom line. He is an entrepreneur with an open mind looking for the next good idea.
The Addison County community is fortunate to have Ralston working on its behalf at local, county, and state levels. He is currently working on the Middlebury EDI development committee and has put his problem solving skills to work by demanding the attention of Vermont’s agency of transportations about the need for a roundabout at Exchange Street and Route 7 and the need for a sidewalk and bike path along Exchange Street. Ralston has been an active board member for the Addison County Economic Development Corporation and the Vermont Retailers Association: two organizations that reach out to expand and bring jobs to our community. He is a strong advocate for a supportive business environment as well as good jobs close to home. Ralston worked in the state legislature from 2011-2014 representing the town of Middlebury as well as supporting Vermont businesses (present and future) throughout the state. Even though he no longer serves in the legislature, he continues to cross party lines to pursue this passion for helping businesses get started and succeed in Vermont.
In the words of his employees, Paul Ralston is someone who is passionate about his community and cares about his neighbors’ happiness and their success. He cares and demonstrates it daily. He walks the talk and is the voice for those who need one.
The Chamber’s Community Achievement Award is given to a non-profit organization that provides a significant and sustained contribution to the wellbeing of the area. This year’s award was presented to the Rotary Club of Middlebury and accepted by Geoff Conrad, club president and manager of the Middlebury Inn, and Eric Denu, Rotary District Governor-Elect and owner of Countryside Carpet & Paint. The Middlebury Rotary Club is one of 32,000 clubs throughout the world with more than 1.3 million members. Globally, Rotary has tackled the enormous task of eradicating Polio from the face of the earth through its powerful Polio Plus campaign. Just recently announced, there are no new cases of polio in the continent of Africa and there are only two endemic countries remaining—Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Locally they have worked to support Youth Sports programs, sponsored Student Exchanges, as well as an Annual Speech Contest. They have also contributed to the larger needs of our own community. Just to list a few; ACTR, the Town Hall Theater, the Regional Ambulance Building, Memorial Sports Center, Homeward Bound and Elderly Services.
The club has accomplished much during the past year. Their support extends to Vermont Make-A-Wish and Special Olympics, and to local non-profits such as HOPE, Charter House Coalition, Open Door Clinic, the Henry Sheldon Museum and Meals on Wheels. The most visible service project that the Middlebury Rotary Club does is its Flag Project. The flags you see in town on our patriotic holidays are from the efforts of Rotarians and are sponsored by individuals and community businesses. All proceeds support Rotary funded projects.
The work of the Rotary Club of Middlebury is a proud tradition that extends back generations, and will extend far into the future. They are an all-volunteer group of inspired individuals committed to making life better in the community. Their motto ‘Service Above Self’ accurately reflects this.
Annual Business Meeting
Annual meeting attendees voted on the board of directors for the 2015-2016 year. New to the board this year, serving a one-year term expiring at the 2016 annual meeting is: Judson Hescock, Neuse, Duprey & Putnam. PC. The board and members of the Chamber recognized Bonita Bedard, Vermont HoneyLights; Martin Clark, Martin’s Hardware; Sam Cutting IV, Dakin Farm; and Steve Misasi, Misasi & Company, who are leaving the board after serving their terms. Other board members include:
- *Geoff Conrad, Middlebury Inn
- *Don Devost, Addison Advisors
- *David Donahue, Middlebury College
- Larry Goetschius, Addison County Home Health & Hospice
- Hannah Manley, Homeward Bound: Addison County’s Humane Society
- Michael Norris, Poulos Insurance
- *Shawn Oxford, Bristol Financial Services
- Liza Sacheli, Middlebury College Mahaney Center for the Arts
- Bill Sayre, A. Johnson Lumber Company, representing Addison County Regional Planning Commission
- Grover Usilton, National Bank of Middlebury
- Wendy Hirdler, Key Speakers Bureau, representing Better Middlebury Partnership
- Rebecca Woods, Porter Medical Center
About Addison County Chamber of Commerce
The Addison County Chamber of Commerce (ACCOC) is an association of individuals representing business interests, working together to promote commercial business and tourism in Addison County.
* Designates Chamber Officers