Middlebury – Downtown Middlebury will soon boast three new companies offering products ranging from women’s clothing to wine, thanks to a new round of startup grants offered through the Kick Start Program.
The Better Middlebury Partnership (BMP) recently confirmed the awarding of $20,000 Kick Start awards to each of the Schmetterling Wine Shop, scheduled to open next month at the former Wild Mountain Thyme location at 48 Main St. and “Middleton,” a convenience store at 66 Main St. (formerly Mendy’s) which promises “classic and one-of-a-kind clothing options” for Middlebury locals, tourists and college students.
A third startup took home a $15,000 Kick Start prize: Calvi’s, a seasonal operation in Frog Hollow Alley that will serve hard and soft ice cream as well as crepes, via window service. Calvi’s is Helen Hall’s homage to an old-fashioned ice cream parlor that once operated in downtown Middlebury.
“We are thrilled to welcome these new businesses to downtown Middlebury,” said Karen Dugway, executive director of BMP. “We’re seeing downtown come alive again and it’s great to experience.”
Last July, six new companies were awarded grants ranging from $15,000 to $20,000 – along with a wide range of support services – to fill some vacancies at a Middlebury storefront created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to build in a downtown rail tunnel and market . forces.
The Kick Start Scholarships are made possible thanks to a total of $120,000 made through the City of Middlebury (US$50,000), a non-profit charitable foundation called Table 21 (US$50,000), the Middlebury Rotary Club (US$10,000) and an anonymous donor (10,000). American dollar).
Among the winners of the original Kick Start program were Addison West, which sells home and fashion products; Calvi. Mid Rock Bowling Center; Middlebury Studio School; Art Supply Sparrow. and Your Home Too, the vintage and vintage-inspired lifestyle store.
Grantees had six months to start their businesses. Middlebury Studio School, Sparrow Art Supply, and Your Home Too followed their plans, but Midd Rock, Addison West and Calvi’s were unable to follow through on the sites they targeted.
Midd Rock couldn’t find the right place.
Addison West continues to operate in Addison West at 44 Main St. Owner Monique Bonner has sought out a building in downtown Middlebury. That deal fell through, and Bonner recently purchased a building in Westfield.
Hall originally targeted a spot in the Marble Works shopping complex to host Calvi’s. A number of factors, including staffing and supply chain shortages, brought its original plan to a halt. The Kick Start Hall committee called for a re-apply to the program for the second round, which resulted in Calvi receiving a $15,000 grant — on the condition that the store launches this summer, according to Duguay.
Calvi’s Restaurant will remain open through the fall and will continue to look for opportunities to grow into a full-service restaurant over the next two years.
Schmetterling is owned by Erika Dunyak and Daniel Batavina, and is described as a “natural wine shop”. Their app promises a comfortable space for customers to browse and ask questions in a non-judgmental atmosphere. Batavina and Dunyak say they also strive to create a safe space for gays in the community.
“We plan to have experienced staff members to guide customer choices and an organization focused on low-interference production, in the field and in the cellar; Addison County wines and ciders; ethical business practices; and wines produced by women, queerfolk, and BIPOC makers,” the partners announced.
Reached by phone, Batavina and Doniak said this would be their first shop project together.
Dunyak is a lawyer specializing in small business and social enterprise law.
“Most of my customers are food and farm customers,” she said. “While this is my first project on the retail side of things, I have back office experience working with these (socially responsible retail) clients.”
Nearly Dunyak works with a Colorado-based law firm but is seeking the required license to work with Vermont clients.
Batavina has worked for more than 20 years in a variety of positions in numerous restaurants, bars, and farms in Massachusetts, New York and California. She said she recently owned a “natural queer wine bar” on Martha’s Vineyard.
Together with Schmetterling (German, for “Butterfly”), Pattavina plans a natural wine/grocery store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, called “Mama’s”.
Dunyak and Pattavina both reside in Shoreham and were looking to launch a store together. Schmetterling will focus largely on the types of wines one can find in Germany, Austria, and the Alsace region. They are also committed to showcasing local wines and connecting with small Addison County producers.
“All wines will be natural wines, so we focus mostly on small producers who treat the earth well and don’t add a lot of scrap to their wines,” Dunyak said.
The pair hope to open Schmetterling by the first week of July. They envision a schedule from Thursday to Monday, from noon to 7:30 p.m.
Batavina and Dunyak are looking to hire one or two employees. For more information about new business, log in to schmetterlingwine.com.
Middleton is the brainchild of salon owners Lisa Phelps and Elisa Kestner, both of whom have extensive experience in entrepreneurship. Phelps needs a little introduction; They are the driving force behind Parlor Salon at 57 Main St. , which offers a range of hairdressing and waxing/dyeing services.
Kestner is the owner of Monelle Vermont, in Shelburne and Burlington. Monelle sells a variety of clothing, accessories, shoes, and items for the home and gifts.
Their Middleton selection will include denim, shirts, accessories and luxury outerwear. On their Kick Start app, Phelps and Chestner said their goals for women-owned businesses would include “helping women find the best version of themselves.”
While the focus on clothing will be on women, Kestner has promised some merchandise for men and children.
Phelps and Chestner have known each other for several years and have collaborated professionally in the past. They agreed that downtown Middlebury could use a high-quality clothing and accessories store, one of which offers multiple price points for discerning shoppers. In Middleton, one will be able to have both “everyday essentials” – including T-shirts, jackets, jackets and pants – but also that special collection for special occasions and job interviews.
“We’re kind of a ‘dusk day’ store,” Kestner said.
Chestner said Middleton will also be giving away one-of-a-kind gifts from Vermont and Middlebury.
The owners, who are currently building a website for a store, plan to open in the fall.
“I love the city of Middlebury, and the dress side of the city,” said Chestner. “We are excited.”
Reporter John Flowers is at email@example.com.