The Vermont Economy

VPR's Steve Zind

VPR senior reporter Steve Zind focuses on the Vermont economy and its impact on our lives. Follow Steve Zind on Twitter, post comments on the stories, and let Steve know what local economy stories you think VPR should cover.

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VPR News
5:30 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Barnard General Store Enjoying New Life

Store operator Jillian Bradley with customer Bob Forman at the Barnard General Store which reopened a year ago.
VPR/Steve Zind

In 2012, after a 180 year run the Barnard General store closed.

In response, a local group raised $500,000 to purchase the building and find someone to run the store.

In May of last year, the store reopened and it appears to be doing well.

The store’s closing hit the community hard and it didn’t take much time for the local residents to get to work on a plan to reopen it.    

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The Frequency
6:40 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Vermont Companies Generally Upbeat About The Economy

Chief Executive Officers of many of Vermont's largest employers are generally optimistic about the economy, according to a recent survey.

The 1st quarter VBR-EPR Business Conditions Survey was conducted by the Vermont Business Roundtable and Economic Policy Resources, a Williston research and analysis firm. 

The survey of Vermont Business Roundtable's membership, which includes CEOs of approximately 120 businesses in the state, is conducted quarterly. 

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The Frequency
4:50 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Credit Union Manager Sentenced To Three Years In Prison

Three months after pleading guilty to embezzlement charges, the former manager of the Border Lodge Credit Union in Derby has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Debra Kinney, who ran the small Northeast Kingdom credit union from her home, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Burlington.

Kinney pled guilty to federal fraud charges in January after an FBI investigation concluded that she had been embezzling money from the credit union over a period of years. 

VPR News
5:38 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

New Program Adds To Incentives Offered To Companies

“This is the biggest initiative that a governor has ever had at their disposal to be able to attract high paying research and development high-tech jobs," Gov. Peter Shumlin says of the proposed $4.5 million program.
FUSE Thinkstock

Gov. Peter Shumlin and legislative leaders want to devote up to $5 million to help the state attract and keep high tech jobs.

Shumlin says the money will add flexibility and speed to the state’s economic development effort.

Vermont already has programs to help businesses, but they are loan programs, like those administered by the Vermont Economic Development Authority, or the tax incentives offered through Vermont Economic Progress Council.

This is something new.

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VPR News
6:00 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

National Life Adds More Jobs After A Record Year

Mary Putnam (l) of National Life Group talks with Brandy Rexford at the company's job fair.
VPR/Melody Bodette

National Life Group is adding more than 30 new jobs at its Montpelier headquarters.

In the late 1990s the company made significant job cuts, but it says the new positions reflect a steady growth in recent years.

National Life is filling 100 jobs in all; about one third are new positions, ranging from housekeeping to company vice-presidents.

To attract candidates Angela Kiniry organized the company’s first job fair in six years.

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The Frequency
10:22 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Dollar General Chain Sees Room To Grow In Vermont

Dollar General now has 20 Vermont stores.
Steve Zind VPR

The nation’s largest discount retailer continued to expand in Vermont in 2013.

According to the company's latest annual report, Dollar General opened three new stores in Vermont last year.  The Tennessee-based chain says it now has 20 Vermont stores.  In 2007, the company had just one outlet in the state.

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VPR News
6:06 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Tourism Industry Watching For Fallout From Coverage Of State's Heroin Problem

Those in the tourist industry say they are concerned, but there's no evidence so far that the coverage of Vermont's heroin problem will discourage people from visiting.
Katherine Welles Thinkstock

Before last January most people across the nation would have said "maple syrup," "fall foliage" or "skiing" when asked to list the images that come to mind when they think of Vermont.

Now "heroin" might also be on that list.  

There’s been widespread national news coverage of the state’s heroin problem ever since Gov. Peter Shumlin’s State of the State address.

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Public Post
4:29 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

'So Vermont' Is Southern Vermont's New Regional Brand

This Southern Vermont logo is part of a new regional marketing campaign.
SeVEDS

Southern Vermont has taken some major economic hits in recent years. The region suffered greatly from Tropical Storm Irene and it's now facing the blow that will come with the shutdown of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Regional planners say they need to attract businesses, as well as workers and visitors to Southern Vermont.

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The Frequency
6:10 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

VEDA Loans Will Support Solar Project And Slaughterhouse

A variety of energy, farm and commercial projects have received Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) loans totaling $5.2 million.

The latest round of loans includes $1 million to help finance a large solar array in Barton. VEDA says the $7.8 million project will be built on 24 acres of land on Rt. 16.

Agriculture-related businesses receiving loans include Mack’s Meats in Grand Isle which plans to purchase the former Champlain Valley Meats slaughterhouse, which has been closed since 2009.

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VPR News
5:57 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

House Backs $10.10 Minimum Wage Starting In January

A bill endorsed by the House General Affairs committee would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour beginning next January, though it's likely that the House timetable will be changed in the Senate.
underworld111 Thinkstock

Vermonters would soon earn a minimum of $10.10 an hour under legislation advanced by the House on Tuesday.

The question during the day long debate wasn’t whether the wage rate should be raised but how quickly it should happen.

The state minimum wage is currently $8.73 an hour. The bill endorsed by the House General Affairs committee increased the rate to $10.10 an hour beginning next January.

Rep. Jean O’Sullivan, D-Burlington, says the increase would affect roughly 20,000 workers in Vermont and would help pump a lot of money into the state economy.

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