Business Ticker

Greetings from The Chester Telegraph’s Business Ticker, where information about business development, changes and interests, both local and statewide, can be found.

My name is Renee Nied and I am taking over this column after recently relocating to Chester from Upstate New York.

Through the Business Ticker, I hope we can find one other. Then I’ll let my innate curiosity take over, resulting in in-depth business stories as well as an occasional human-interest piece about you, your business and its role in our community.

If you have business news to share — people promoted, people hired, businesses relocated,  awards, milestones etc. —  please contact me at:

Inn Victoria up for sale

Dan and Penny Cote, who have owned the lovely Inn Victoria on Main Street in Chester for the past eight years, have listed the 6,500-square-foot inn for sale.

Inn Victoria

“Dan and I have to have an exit strategy for the next five years,” when they turn 65, Penny Cote said on Friday.

She added that while they love the area and the inn, they need to be “more mobile to visit the grandkids. We’ll stay in Vermont or over the border in New Hampshire, where” she chuckled, “we don’t pay income tax.”

Dan is a risk management consultant and serves on the Chester Select Board and Penny owns the Royal Academy, an education enhancement and home-schooling service.

It’s not uncommon for innkeepers to put an inn up for sales five to 10 years before they expect to sell since finding the right buyer can take time.

Cote has a laissez faire attitude: “If it doesn’t sell,” she says, “it doesn’t sell. If the right person finds it, the right person finds it. We’ll keep it profitable and keep it just as it is.”

Soon after the Cotes took over the inn, they did a $250,000 upgrade. And, they have built a reputation as excellent hosts.

The inn has eight rental rooms, with a potential for nine, since there are two innkeepers’ quarters, a small store and a landscaped back yard.  The price $1.095 million. — Cynthia Prairie.

GROWL: Lisai’s suspends beer tastings

Lonnie Lisai, owner of Lisai’ s Chester Market on Depot Street has announced that he is suspending beer tastings indefinitely. He cited “increasing regulations” in his Facebook post.

But, he added, “We’ll still offer the great selection of beers and ciders that we’ve always had, by the bottle, can and growler, but we are unable to host the monthly tasting event.”

While you are standing at the growler bar, turn around to see Lisai’s fine selection of wines as well. – CP

Shona Grill in Bellows Falls to close March 3

Kim Dignan, owner of the Shona Grill, 92 Rockingham St. in Bellows Falls, has announced that she will be closing the restaurant on March 3.

Shona Grill in Bellows Falls. GOOGLE image.

In a Facebook post last week, Dignan said that “as the lease prepares to expire along with my license I have decided with the agreement of the staff that Shona is going to close…”

She added that “the building needs too much work and I cant imagine opening anyplace else. I don’t own the building and I have spent 5 years putting lipstick on a pig and making it work but I just feel like its time to start fresh.”

It’s no surprise that her many fans are unhappy but understanding. The restaurant was known for its high-stacked burgers and yummy hot dogs and fries. — CP

Okemo Resort nominated as best Vermont workplace

Okemo Mountain Resort has been nominated as one of the 2018 Best Places to Work in Vermont. This recognition is part of a statewide survey and awards program comprised of 50 companies designed to honor the best places of employment in Vermont as well as those that benefit the state’s economy and workforce.

To be considered, companies had to fulfill the following: be a publicly or privately held Vermont business or government entity with a facility in the state of Vermont that has been in business a minimum of one year with at least 15 employees working in Vermont.

At Okemo, everything we do as a family business reflects our desire to support our employees in what they do to create ‘The Okemo Difference’ for our guests,” said Okemo Mountain Resort Vice President Diane Mueller. “We were especially proud to learn that Okemo is the only ski resort to be recognized as a 2018 Best Places to Work in Vermont.”

Middlebury beverage firm makes Shark Tank

On Jan. 28, Sap!, a Middlebury-based beverage company, appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank. Company co-founders Chas P. Smith and Nikita Salmon filmed the episode last fall in Los Angeles and have since been named to Whole Foods Trends List for 2018.

Sap! makes a line of plant-based  sparkling beverages from 100 percent maple and birch sap. The drinks contain antioxidants, electrolytes, minerals, vitamins and other trace nutrients. Click here to find an archived episode of the show.

The website store locator says the drinks are available at 17 area stores including Lisai’s Chester Market, Singleton’s in Cavendish and Clark’s IGA in Londonderry.

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