Talk of the Town - Business News from Greater Keene, Brattleboro & Peterborough


Put aside everything you know about typical networking events and join us Sept. 19 for CONNECT2019: What’s Next! CONNECT is an annual event that brings together hundreds of engaged, locally-focused community members to celebrate and foster the advantages and opportunities of rural living. This year’s theme, What’s Next!, focuses on exploring ideas and projects that will transform six industries — Arts & Culture, Entrepreneurship, Journalism, Main Street, Renewable Energy and Working Lands — in the next three to five years. Installations will be created in collaboration with Machina Arts, an art-inspired event curator, to represent each industry’s project. As in the past, CONNECT will be staged by Machina Arts and catered by CC&D’s, a kitchen market that crafts local and natural food into an elaborate and inviting display. Learn more at



Grab your tickets for the Radically Rural Summit now — early bird discounted ticket sales end June 14. Radically Rural is a national two-day summit hosted by the Hannah Grimes Center and the Keene Sentinel that focuses on creating vibrant, robust rural communities and the advantages and opportunities of rural living. This year’s summit is offering six engaging program tracks on Arts & Culture, Entrepreneurship, Journalism, Main Street, Renewable Energy and Working Lands. Nineteen sessions will be offered across the six tracks, covering topics from arts festivals, the rural efficiency gap, and multi-media storytelling to farm viability, Main Street first impressions, and the “experienced economy.” Interested in attending? Tickets for the full Radically Rural Summit can be found at


Each September, the Hannah Grimes Center hosts the PitchFork Challenge, a pitch competition for local entrepreneurs that offers a $10,000 cash prize for the winning business and a $1,000 cash prize for the winning start-up idea. Selected applicants will experience a great opportunity for professional business pitch coaching and building a valuable network. The final pitch will be held as part of the Entrepreneurship Track of Radically Rural on September 19 and 20 where finalists will pitch their business/ideas for a live national audience. The PitchFork Challenge is open to any resident and business in select towns across New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont with a population of 30,000 or less. Applications are accepted until July 23 and can be found at



BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — Brattleboro Savings & Loan has been named a Certified B Corporation, joining a small group of ambitious companies around the world that meet exceptional standards for environmental, social and community impact. With this certification, the organization becomes just the second bank in New England and the 9th in the nation to achieve such status. “The community we serve is exceptionally conscientious about the ways in which their choices impact our neighbors and the earth,” said Joe Little, president of the BS&L Wealth Management Division who led the project. “By becoming a B Corp, Brattleboro Savings & Loan can continue to provide reliable services with the assurance that our practices are aligned with the broader values of our community.” The B Corp Certification was a year in the making while Brattleboro Savings & Loan worked to demonstrate its adherence to an 80-point assessment that evaluated how the organization’s operations and business model impact workers, community, environment and customers. Certification is awarded only to those businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Other global B Corp Certified brands include Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Cabot Creamery and King Arthur Flour. “With this certification, Brattleboro Savings & Loan reaffirms one of our core values: that the choices we make as consumers have an impact on the world around us, and banking is no exception,” said President and CEO Dan Yates. “We are proud to be a force for good while continuing to provide the unwavering service that our customers have relied on for 107 years.” The Brattleboro Savings & Loan is an independent mutually owned bank with offices in Brattleboro, Wilmington and Bondville. For more info visit and


KEENE, N.H. — A children’s consignment shop in Keene has a new owner, and some new products, too. Terra D. Laurie of Sharon took over Little Boutique Children’s Resale on West Street from the last proprietor, Amanda Hines, the last week of March. Laurie, a mother of four kids and two stepchildren, owned a vintage consignment shop in Peterborough that closed several years ago, called Menagerie. That puts both kids clothing and secondhand merchandise right in her wheelhouse. Aside from adding hours by opening earlier during the week, Laurie also changed the consignment system to offer cash as well as store credit, and there’s a “drop and run” setup for established consigners. “It makes it really easy to clean out and clean house, because moms are busy,” she said. Rather than periodic storewide sales, all consignment items will be marked down automatically after sitting on the racks or shelves for a certain amount of time — “so there will always be discounts,” Laurie said. Within the next month or so, she plans to revamp the front half of the store to offer new items, mostly shower gifts from local vendors. Between secondhand merchandise and new products from sellers in the area, “not only is it a green business … but it also creates kind of a green local economy,” Laurie said. “... That’s the way things become more sustainable long-term.” She has also partnered with Stephanie Ruoff of Mynt & Myca, who designs the shop’s rotating window displays and offers upcycled vintage decor. For more information, including the news hours of operation, go to


KEENE, N.H. — Cheshire County Federal Credit Union became a subsidiary of GFA Credit Union at the end of February, though the former retained its name, according to a news release. All employees will continue working at Cheshire’s sole branch, on Marlboro Street in Keene. The merger gives Cheshire customers access to more physical locations: GFA has a branch in Rindge and another in Peterborough, along with seven in Massachusetts. GFA is also part of the CO-OP Shared Branching Network, opening up access to more than 5,000 credit union branches and 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the U.S. For its part, GFA gains a foothold in the Keene market. Cheshire County Federal Credit Union has $19 million in assets and more than 3,300 members, according to the news release. GFA Credit Union has more than $500 million in assets, with about 29,000 members. Learn more: and


KEENE, N.H. — An arts-infused eatery and performance venue is open for business on Court Street in Keene. Machina Kitchen & ArtBar is the brainchild of Machina Arts co-owners Danya Landis of Keene, Rebecca R. Hamilton of Gilsum and Jordan Scott of Keene. The joint opened Tuesday at 9 Court St. and serves during dinner hours only. Landis said that Machina’s goal has always been to serve young professionals in the region, and this new endeavor will cater to that demographic. The Court Street space is split into two sides, a dining room and a bar. Each side has its own menu and each incorporate art in distinct ways. Scott explained that, while the dining room features more traditional wall pieces, the ArtBar also functions as a gallery for longer-term installations that could include sculptures. Though the dining room shuts down at 9 or 10 p.m. each night, the ArtBar stays open for the late-night crowd — and Machina’s kitchen does, too, serving the bar’s full menu until the doors close. With the new space, Machina Arts is also leaving its nest at the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship and settling into its new headquarters, since the Court Street space will double as a permanent venue to host events. To see a full cocktail and food menu, visit For regular updates, including information about the artists featured in the bar visit


KEENE, N.H. — A hair and makeup artist has moved to a more visible downtown storefront on Central Square in Keene. Vicky Smith Artistry is now open for business at 36 Central Square. Before that, the salon was in a space above Fritz on Main Street; the space formerly housed Creative Ink, which recently moved to the west side of the square. This marks the salon’s second relocation in a year, owner Vicky Smith of Keene said. Last August, she moved the business from one suite above Fritz to another with double the square footage and began offering lash extensions. Her new digs are twice the size of the Main Street space. Smith has owned her studio since fall 2017. She has three-plus years under her belt as an independent stylist and 13 years of experience in hair salons. She works with one other stylist in her studio but said she’s looking for two more to rent booth space. For more information about the business, go to or find Vicky Smith Artistry on Instagram.


A solar installer with involvement in several local projects, including “Solarize Monadnock,” has been recertified as a B Corporation, marking its status as a “socially responsible” company. Businesses interested in gaining B Corporation status apply to a national nonprofit organization, B Lab, which then rates the company’s transparency, accountability, impact on the environment and social performance, according to the website Certified B Corporations have to re-up every three years, and Brentwood-based ReVision Energy just earned its status again, beating its 2015 score by 30 points. In a news release, ReVision noted that the improvements were mostly in the “governance and worker impact” category. The company received strong marks for transitioning to a completely employee-owned model and for its new in-house technical training center, according to the release. ReVision has handled solar installations in the region, including arrays at a Keene Housing complex and on the Keene Police Department and municipal offices on Marlboro Street. ReVision is one of nine B Corps in New Hampshire, alongside W.S. Badger Co. in Gilsum and Green Energy Options in Keene. Learn more at


KEENE, N.H. — The head of a local university now also leads the board at a business-centric nonprofit organization in Keene. Kim Mooney, president of Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, is now president of the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship board of directors. Mooney has served on the board since 2016, the same year she became the sixth president of Franklin Pierce. Before that role, she was the institution’s provost and vice president of academic affairs. Mooney succeeds Sarah Kossayda as Hannah Grimes’s board president. Mooney is the first woman and the first alumna to lead Franklin Pierce. For 2018, Business NH Magazine recognized the university as fifth on its list of top women-led nonprofit organizations in the state.


JAFFREY, N.H. — A gluten-free baker has launched a storefront. Doodle Eats, at 80 Peterborough St., specializing in gluten-free breads and “doodle pies” which are artisanal toaster pastries. Owner Darci Hammer said she has celiac disease and is conscious of verifying ingredients in the food she eats. “And that’s why I built a commercial kitchen that’s gluten-free so folks with allergies can enjoy my products,” she said. For 15 years, she’s avoided many foods and missed out on tasty dishes. “I decided that I wanted to start baking things that I couldn’t get myself and enjoy,” Hammer said. Before moving into the space in Jaffrey, Hammer was working from her home in Peterborough and quickly outgrew her kitchen. She and her husband, Roger Mitchell, moved to the region last April from Brooklyn, N.Y., seeking access to nature and a nice change of pace. Doodle pies and breads are available in several local co-ops and stores, listed at For more information about the Jaffrey’s storefront, including retail hours, go to the website or visit


CHESTERFIELD, N.H. — In December 2018, the Chesterfield Historical Society received a $10,000 grant award from NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) to support the development of the 1831 Stone House Tavern Museum. The grant was designated to fund a preservation planning study. The Chesterfield Historical Society has chosen Weller and Michal Architects Inc. of Harrisville to complete a Historic Structure Report (HSR). Historic Preservation Consultant Paula Sagerman from Brattleboro will also be part of the team. HSR provides a very detailed and comprehensive analysis of the building and pays particular attention to its future reuse. The report will tell the Chesterfield Historical Society what will and will not work in terms of use and provide a road map to guide the organization in identifying and assessing the building’s preservation needs and priorities. LCHIP awarded $3.9 million last December to 42 projects spread all across the state of New Hampshire. Sixteen natural resource conservation projects are being supported by $2 million while 26 historic resource projects are receiving $1.9 million, all in matching grants. In a press release, the Chesterfield Historical Society stated that it greatly appreciates LCHIP’s investment in the development of the 1831 Stone House Tavern Museum. In April 2018, the building was purchased to preserve its historical integrity, unique features, and eventually transforming it into a vibrant showplace of 19th-century history of Chesterfield and surrounding areas. This grant enables the Society to move forward in revitalizing this iconic structure. Restoration will begin as soon as funds are raised through grants and personal donation. Information on the Stone House Tavern Project can be found on the CHS website:


SWANZEY, N.H. — The 2019 T3 Software Survey Report shows that True North Networks, LLC, ranks as the IT service provider with the highest satisfaction ranking among eight hosting/ cybersecurity resources used by financial advisors. It also ranks fourth in market share and ranks first among programs survey respondents were thinking about adding. Sponsored by Orion Advisor Services and Morningstar, Inc., Bob Veres and Joel Bruckenstein analyzed the survey responses of more than 5,500 financial advisors and shared the report at the 16th Annual T3 (Technology Tools for Today) Advisor Conference. Located at 15 Business Center Drive, Swanzey, New Hampshire, True North Networks was established in 2002 as a secure, remote-access IT provider. It has since developed into a full-fledged managed service and private cloud hosting provider specializing in supporting the Registered Investment Advisor industry and other professional organizations. True North Networks has supported the RIA industry for more than a decade, with clients located throughout the country. President and Founder Steve Ryder, whose background includes positions as vice president of two banks, said, “Especially in the highly regulated financial industry, it’s vital that advisory firms have an IT partner providing comprehensive protection, proactive monitoring and employee awareness training as part of a layered approach to securing sensitive information. That’s what we do for our clients.” In addition to its headquarters in Swanzey, True North Networks has offices in Chichester, New Hampshire; Scarborough, Maine; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Houston, Texas. Learn more at


PETERBOROUGH, N.H. — Starting this growing season, Cornucopia’s Farm to Fork program will be providing vegetables to the ConVal Food Service department through Fresh Picks Cafe. ConVal students can look forward to salad bar items grown by their fellow students and a variety of fresh Cornucopia-branded items making their way onto the food menus throughout the district. For those of us a bit older than school age, look for the Farm to Fork fellows to be selling their wares at the Fresh Chicks Farmers Market in Peterborough on Mondays this summer. Learn more:



BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — Last year’s Strolling of the Heifers parade and festival diverted 60% of its waste from landfill disposal. This year’s goal, according to a press release, is to reach 75%. The 18th Annual Strolling of the Heifers weekend celebrates local agriculture and food, attracting thousands of residents and visitors to the Friday evening festival, Saturday morning parade, and all-day Slow Living Expo at the Brattleboro Common, and Sunday Tour de Heifer dirt road bicycle ride and farm tours. The Stroll’s festivities feature hundreds of vendors, exhibitors, and entertainers. Such a large event generates a considerable amount of trash and recyclable materials, and Strolling of the Heifers organizers partner with Triple T Trucking, Windham Solid Waste Management District (WSWMD), Elm City Compost Initiative (ECCI) and lots of volunteers to conduct a “Zero Waste” event (or darn close!). Through the Zero Waste effort, bottles, cans and cardboard are collected for recycling; food scraps and paper are composted; the remainder is trash. Cathy Jameson, solid waste program director for Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, said, “Strolling of the Heifers is a model for other community and private events. The Town of Brattleboro is leading Vermont with its residential recycling and composting program, which diverts 65% of materials from landfill disposal, and it’s great to see this large public event having similar success.” Learn more:



BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — Windham Grows, a program of Strolling of the Heifers, is accepting applications for its summer/fall 2019 cohort. Windham Grows is a food and agriculture business accelerator, connecting entrepreneurs with mentors, industry contacts, and support. “Windham Grows fits into the Stroll’s mission by helping existing agriculture-related businesses develop in ways that strengthen the economy, the community, and the environment,” said Orly Munzing, Strolling of the Heifers Founder. “Having a great product is only one piece of the puzzle to making success happen,” said Jim Verzino, the program’s director and an entrepreneur-in-residence. “We’re also having important conversations about food and agriculture, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and the collective social conscience. It matters.” So far, the 20+ professionals who have completed the first three cohorts have raised over $1.6 million in outside investments to help fund their growing businesses. Currently, the fourth cohort is in process and due to graduate in June. Who are the graduates of Windham Grows? They are the current and emerging socially minded entrepreneurs in the region, including Whetstone Brewery, Vermont Tortilla, Putney Mountain Winery, and Frabjous Fibers and Wonderland Yarns. The next cohort begins in July, and Windham Grows seeks food and agricultural entrepreneurs who want to build a business, change the conversation around food and farms, and strengthen their communities. Entrepreneurs receive mentoring, access to subject matter experts, connections to capital and non-capital resources, and cohort members become a collaborative peer group. The program consists of three-weekend residencies in Brattleboro, Vermont, and regular video meetings. The program also provides outside consulting services tailored to the needs of individual entrepreneurs to help them move their companies to the next level; the program provides food and lodging for non-local participants. Of his overall experience in the program, Rob “Sugar Bob” Hausslein of Sugar Bob’s Finest Kind said, “I strongly encourage you to consider taking part in the Windham Grows program if 1. You can commit to the time. 2. Need the help, and 3. Play well with others.” Applications for the July cohort are due midnight May 29, 2019. To learn more and apply for admission to Windham Grows, please go to



WALPOLE, N.H. — Twenty-four students have won the 2019 Jeffrey P. Smith Farm Scholarship award. Congratulations to Arianna Allen of Swanzey NH, Parker Antonivich of Swanzey NH, Hannah Bebeau of Swanzey NH, Avery Brien of Keene NH, Mason Brien of Keene NH, Olivia Briggs of Sullivan NH, Victoria Briggs of Sullivan NH, Bianca Doran of Winchester NH, Treyvon Doran of Winchester NH, Cali Dowling of Keene NH, Addison Florio of Westmoreland NH, Tessa Hall of Spofford NH, Ella Hansen of Surry NH, Elias James of Hinsdale NH, Teddy Kraley of Alstead NH, Levi Mackey of Westmoreland NH, Declan Nay of Keene NH, Ellie Peteren of Keene NH, Alexandria Rabel of Gilsum NH, Tristan Rutter of Keene NH, Nevaeh Sanders of Alstead NH, Noah Smith of Keene NH, Rieley Warner of Nelson NH, and Benjamin Winchester of Westmoreland NH. All scholarship recipients demonstrated a desire to learn more about farming and gardening and they will have the opportunity to attend a farm camp of their choice this summer. Learn more at




BRATTLEBORO, Vt. – The ninth annual Slow Living Summit will take place in Brattleboro, Vermont on Thursday, June 6 and Friday, June 7. Presented by Strolling of the Heifers and Windham Grows, the Summit’s focus is “The Future of Women in Food Entrepreneurship,” and its goal is to bring together diverse entrepreneurs in the farm and food industries, providing them with tools, resources and mentorship they need to grow socially responsible businesses. “This year will focus on women’s stories, but men, women and non-binary people are part of those stories,” said Orly Munzing, founder of Strolling of the Heifers. Panels this year include Law in the Era of #MeToo, Non-traditional Financing for Women and Other Underserved Communities and How the Co-op Model Works for Women. Speakers include economist, author and Honor the Earth co-founder Winona LaDuke, former Vermont gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist , NPR’s Planet Money host Stacey Vanek Smith and Principal Founder of Breakthru Beverage, Charles Merinoff. The full Summit schedule, speakers, and registration information can be found at



PETERBOROUGH, N.H. — At the April 17th meeting of the Monadnock chapter of 100+ Women Who Care, the membership selected Peterborough Human Services Fund as the recipient of the meeting’s collective donation. In her presentation on behalf of Peterborough Human Services Fund, Kathy Boss, executive director, explained that the Peterborough Food Pantry has made great inroads in elevating the nutritional awareness of their customers by adding occasional fresh produce options through their “fresh rescue” program with Hannaford’s in Rindge and the winter “Green Bag” produce donations from local merchants. The funds received from the 100+ Women Who Care Monadnock will be used by the food pantry to purchase additional fruits and vegetables from local growers or grocers to create a reliable stream of healthy produce to their customers’ diets. 100+ Women Who Care welcomes prospective members to attend their next meeting at the Hilltop Country Club in Peterborough on July 17th from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit or on Facebook:

(Photo Credit: Sally Eneguess. Pictured, left to right, Cindy Nautischer, Virginia Lee Miller, Johniene Papandreas, Kathy Boss, Connie Smith)



KEENE, N.H. – The Works Café recently earned certification as a 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant® by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), a national nonprofit organization helping restaurants become more environmentally sustainable. The Works Café received 208.51 GreenPoints™ on the GRA’s rigorous certification scale and implemented 53 environmental steps. The Green Restaurant Association’s (GRA) certification standards reflect 28 years of research in the field of restaurants and the environment. Highlights of The Works Café Green Accomplishments that earned this certification include:

Composting food waste and recycling plastics, glass, aluminum, cardboard and paper keeps up to 90% of waste out of landfills.

By providing customers with reusable dishes, glasses/mugs and utensils for dining in, waste is kept out of landfills and natural resources are conserved.

76.2% of lights are LEDs, which use up to 90% less energy, last longer, contain no mercury, and emit fewer greenhouse gases than incandescent bulbs.

Over 34% of main dishes are vegetarian, which significantly reduces the carbon footprint associated with food.

93.1% of egg purchases and 54.6% of dairy purchases are Certified Organic.

The facility is Styrofoam-free, which keeps harmful chemicals and litter out of our environment.

“We chose to partner with GRA because they have the toughest standards out there,” said Richard French, president of The Works Café. “I’m really pleased that our years of social and environmental commitments are being recognized. Kudos to our staff customers and the community as a whole.” To see The Works Cafe-KNH’s detailed Green Label and all their environmental steps, click on



WALPOLE, N.H. — Three local farms are recipients of the 2019 Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund: Sun Moon Farm of Rindge, Archway Farm of Keene, and Bascom Farm of Charlestown. Since starting in 2017, the Farm Fund has awarded over $32,000 in grants to nine local farms. The Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund, created in partnership with the Cheshire County Conservation District, has a mission to support local farmers in increasing sustainable food production and wholesale sales to contribute to a thriving local farm economy. This grant supports several of the co-op’s goals, including contributing to a healthy, sustainable food system, supporting local farmers and producers and building a strong, sustainable and improving local economy. The Cheshire County Conservation District, fiscal agent for the Farm Fund, supports farm viability in the region and promotes the responsible stewardship of natural and agricultural resources. Sun Moon Farm will erect a greenhouse structure to expand space for curing onions and garlic and will purchase a rolling dibbler to reduce transplanting time. Archway Farm will design and print new labels for five high-volume pork products to create more attractive and appealing packaging. Bascom Farm will remodel and equip their current barn to serve as a packaging and processing area for their produce. “Our Farm Fund is an essential way to invest in the future of local, sustainable farming in our region,” said Michael Faber, Monadnock Food Co-op general manager. “It helps ensure we have a healthy, local food system for our community.” Funds for this program are provided by donations from Monadnock Food Co-op and its shoppers. Additional funds come from the You Have Our Trust Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation. Fundraising is already underway for the 2020 Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund grant cycle. During April, May, July and August 2019, co-op shoppers can round up their change at the registers to donate to the fund. To learn more visit