BBA Announces Pilot Project to Add Holiday Lighting Downtown

Burlington, VT – The Burlington Business Association (BBA) is excited to announce that a pilot project of a new initiative to install holiday lighting along Burlington’s side streets downtown is underway. In its first year, lights will be installed on street lamps that line College Street, from South Winooski to St. Paul Street. The white holiday lights will be installed by the Burlington Electric Department, who helped to facilitate the initiative.

This project was made possible by generous donations from Northfield Savings Bank, Burton and Burlington Telecom Business Services. Each of these companies came on board with enthusiastic support when the project was proposed.

The idea to add holiday lights to the side streets came from the BBA’s Downtown Action Group committee, whose members proposed it as a way to extend the festive feeling of Church Street along Burlington’s side streets. A grass roots effort was quickly underway, championed by Kara Alnasrawi, DAG Committee Chair and owner of Liebling women’s boutique on College street. Alnasrawi was enthusiastically joined by Zandy Wheeler, BBA Board Member and owner of SKIRACK and Patagonia to assist with outreach and fundraising.

Winter lights create a warm, welcoming environment on the street to coincide with the festive winter season, provide additional safety through well lit streets, and are an effective way to help drive holiday traffic to College street and further extend the holiday vibrancy through the downtown. Since it was proposed, the project has garnered interest from other side street businesses, and the BBA will aim to work with businesses throughout the downtown to expand the scope of the lighting to include side streets like Bank Street and Cherry Street for upcoming holiday seasons.

The Burlington Business Association, founded in 1978, is a non-profit, non-political membership organization with over 240 business and non-profit members. Our mission is to enhance and promote the economic vitality of Burlington, Vermont, and to assure that the City of Burlington continues as the cultural, social, political, educational and economic center of northwestern Vermont.

Meredith Bay- Tyack

BBA Announces the Winners of 3 Prizes Courtesy of Parkmobile

In October, The Burlington Business Association (BBA) held their annual online auction, the “Best of Burlington” which featured over 70 items donated by local businesses. This year’s presenting sponsor of the BBA auction was Park Mobile, LLC, which awarded prizes to three Chittenden Co. Parkmobile users as a special promotion. Those three winners were randomly selected from Parkmobile’s database of users, and received the news from Parkmobile following the close of the auction.

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BBA Partners with VT Retail & Grocer’s Assoc. to Tackle Retail Theft

The BBA, along with the VT Retail & Grocer’s Assoc. and the Church Street Marketplace have partnered to pursue changes at the state legislative level that would help Vermont retailers who are the victims of high level retail theft, also known as Organized Retail Crime (ORC).

ORC is retail theft that includes:

  • Multiple people working in teams
  • Multiple instances within a given time frame (i.e. 2-3 thefts in one day, or repeated instances over a given course of days or weeks)
  • Thefts that are valued at or over the $900 felony level
  • The use of “booster bags” (Aluminum foil lined bags- pictured above)
  • Tampering with in store security tags

Currently, Vermont’s laws make retail theft a simple misdemeanor if the dollar value is below $900. It only reaches a felony when an individual steals $900 worth of merchandise or more. Current laws do consider retail theft a felony if “booster bags” are used or security tags are tampered with. Continue reading


Shop Small on Small Business Saturday


Small Business Saturday is quickly approaching and just in time for the holiday season! This year’s Small Business Saturday will be held on Saturday Nov. 26; individuals are encouraged to shop and support local small businesses. The Burlington Business Association is a Small Business Saturday Neighborhood Champion, providing local businesses with promotional products and materials. Contact Sarah at the BBA today to coordinate a pick up of Small Business Saturday swag to help promote the day. Materials include posters, tote bags, welcome mats, dog bandanas, balloons, buttons, stickers and more that can be used to decorate your store and give out to customers on the day. Visit  to customize and download promotional material for your business, and be sure to use the hashtag #shopsmall to help spread the word on social media. 

Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 by American Express and has quickly gained the support of the U.S. Senate and all 50 states. Last year 95 million people shopped small on Small Business Saturday. Over 70% of the Church Street Marketplace’s stores are local businesses, making downtown Burlington an ideal place to shop on Small Business Saturday. Join us in the spreading the word to support and celebrate local Burlington retailers.




BBA Organizes 2nd Annual Adopt Your Sidewalk Downtown Cleanup

Thursday morning, BBA Members along with Mayor Miro Weinberger and Public Works Director Chapin Spencer, took part in the BBA’s second annual Adopt Your Sidewalk Downtown Cleanup.

The group went to work on Cherry Street, sweeping up dirt and litter that had built up on one of downtown Burlington’s busy streets.

This is the second year in a row that the BBA has organized this event as part of its Adopt Your Sidewalk program, a grassroots effort where local businesses pledge to clean and maintain the sidewalk in around them. The mission is to create a downtown that is as welcoming to residents and visitors as possible.

“The success of our downtown is a result of the hard work of many individuals and organizations working together, and the BBA’s Adopt Your Sidewalk is another great example of this type of collaboration.” Said Mayor Weinberger. “It is exciting to see business owners come out and work together to improve the look and feel of our sidewalks for everyone to enjoy.”


Downtown Transit Center Opens

Decades of planning finally came to fruition Thursday, as BBA member Green Mountain Transit opened their new Downtown Transit Center in Burlington.

The facility will provide riders with indoor seating, bathrooms, wifi as well as a roof covered outdoor waiting area.

The transit center’s central location on St. Paul Street will provide an ideal transportation hub for commuters who work in Burlington’s downtown core. The future development of the Burlington Town Center, located directly across the street could potentially provide a steady stream of new riders.

Green Mountain Transit officials were proud to announce the projects completion “on budget, on schedule”.

BBA Members took a lead in the development of the $7.7 million dollar project, with Truex Cullins and PC Construction designing and building the facility.


Dollar Store Boom Worrisome for Local Communities

A sharp rise in the number of dollar stores has residents in communities across Vermont wondering about the future of local businesses. Vermont has the largest number of Dollar Stores in New England and the same number as Colorado, a state with eight times as many people. So far, Burlington’s downtown has avoided having a dollar store open, but there has been interest.
Recent articles in both VT Digger and Seven Days have highlighted this recent trend, which has seen the number of dollar stores in Green Mountain state rise to 45.
Dollar store chains like Dollar General and Family Dollar have the ability to undercut prices of community owned shops, threatening local businesses while failing to keep money in Vermont.
“These things come into the community and basically don’t do anything for the community,” said Shawn Cunningham in Mark Davis’ July Seven Days article, “They don’t participate in the local economy except to take money out.”
The growth of these growth of these stores throughout Vermont is indicative of the larger trend of economic stagnation that in many parts of the State.
Without outside economic investment and development, jobs and wages stagnate, creating a strong market for discount chains to move in.

2016 Vermont Web Marketing Summit

Started in 2010 with only 80 attendees and a goal to instill a digital mindset to marketing professionals in Vermont & New Hampshire, the VT Web Marketing Summit has grown to be recognized as one of the leading annual conference that delivers some of the boldest, brightest and immersive digital marketing trends, strategies, challenges and success stories.

This year it’s on TUESDAY, OCT 25, at HILTON, BURLINGTON.
Speakers from leading local and national marketing environments will share insights and practical tips on the ever-evolving world of digital marketing.

Register Now!**

**BBA Members are eligible for the PARTNER MEMBERS SPECIAL. Select this option when registering.


SEAG Committee Report

A Committee Report on the South End Action Group from committee chair, Russ Scully:
The South End Action Group met each month over the last quarter discussing a variety of topics related to the south end and downtown Burlington.
We shared the details of the Mayor’s long term capital plan for the City and how those improvements would benefit and/or impact the south end. We also received updates from City Market on the status of their expansion project on Flynn Avenue. Consultants working on the City’s permitting process gave us an update on the interviews and feedback they collected from local developers as part of their process to streamline the development projects in the south end. We reached out to south end members asking them to attend DRB meetings for two different south end development projects – City Market’s expansion on Flynn Avenue and Red Stone’s apartment complex on the corner of Flynn and Pine.

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BBA Proudly Supports District Energy in Burlington

A long held energy goal of city officials could be back on the table as a result of the proposed redevelopment of the Burlington Town Center.

A District Energy System (DES) would capture waste heat from the McNeil Energy Plant and transport it through pipes to other facilities around Burlington. Previous attempts to create such a system had been deemed financially unfeasible, but the prospect of a large residential and commercial center has planners re-thinking the plan.

The BBA is proud to support a district energy system in Burlington. Once again this City has shown its commitment to the type of forward thinking policy ideas that have made it an award winning community. This partnership between the City of Burlington and local organizations provides a clear example of how future development needs can be blended with the values of an environmentally conscious community. The collaborative effort undertaken by the organizations involved will lead to real savings for Burlington businesses and that comes, in part, by seeing the potential for an underutilized property in the heart of our downtown to become a vibrant community center, that also happens to be more energy sustainable.

Burlington needs to create more housing for all, more downtown office space, and more opportunities for locally owned business in all areas of the City. The Burlington Town Center project is a critical next step. The fact that it strengthens the viability of district energy in Burlington is an added benefit. The Burlington Town Center project furthers Burlington’s climate action and clean lake goals. Taking the next step on district energy will help ensure a bright future for Burlington. We are and we will continue to be an amazing place to call home.