Survival Mode


Every business owner I know is working harder than ever to figure out how to survive. No matter the type of business, each day brings new challenges. The BBA is working hard to make sure we can be right there with you. We need each other more than ever.

Together we can do more for our economy and businesses. I am asking you to send me three ideas of how we can help. What can we, the city or the state do to help your business survive?

Send me your 3 ideas.


The city passed its budget last night, by a 9 to 3 vote, likely only the second time the budget did not pass unanimously: a reflection of the division on the council. Budget wins the BBA worked for:

  • 50% cut in both marketplace and DID fees
    • ~ $750,000 savings to downtown businesses
  • Phase 1 of asset tax reduction: $45,000 exemption across the board and a lower rate
    • ~ $450,000 estimated savings to business
  • Free employee parking program downtown: valued at about $75,000
  • Delay in removal of 2HRs FREE in Marketplace Garage: valued at about $300,000
    • Will be replaced by a validation program
    • 2hrs free will remain at Lakeside and Cherry St garages


We will be sending out some information soon in partnership with the Vermont Chamber of Commerce about help available from the state programs. There are small business grants for those that can show a 50% reduction in business, so stay tuned.

The BBA runs on membership dues – that and events are our income. We are asking that you pay your dues if you can, and we will work with you if you can’t. Just let us know. You’ll hear from me if you haven’t already. Let me know how you are and what works for you.


“In a time of a pandemic, to be able to pass a budget that has no layoffs, no furloughs of permanent employees and no tax increase, and largely keeps intact most of the city services is actually pretty remarkable,” Councilor Brian Pine (P-Ward 3) said. “I think it’s really important for us to … put aside our own personal issues or grievances we may have and look at what in totality is being accomplished here.” 


Executive Director Update: Hold on tight, Get ready to reopen

Hold on Tight.


Illustration by Barbara Kelly for The Wall Street Journal

We are not all in the same boat. But we are in the same storm.

-Damian Barr

It’s been two months since this started. A crazy two months. At the BBA we know that every one of our members has difficult decisions to make every day. We know that the future looks foggy and sometimes bleak. Everything feels different, even the great weather this weekend is about to bring feels different. Wanna talk about it – give me a call, Kelly 802-324-2748


The BBA is still working, our ranks are smaller, but we are still working for you. (current BBA staff status is listed below). Here are some projects in the works and how you can get involved.


#1 Online Shopping 

We used our online auction portal ( to help businesses move spring inventory and connect with customers on-line. Special thanks to our partners Seven Days, the Church Street Marketplace, and CEDO, and our sponsors Pomerleau Real Estate and Brookfield Properties.

Results: $13k raised and nearly $17k in the hands of local retailers. 100,000 people reached and 700 bidders from as far away as CA and TX.

We plan to repeat this online sale for Father’s Day.


You: If you are a retailer or restauranteur we can pay you to participate.


#2 City and State Policy 

We are keeping an eye on policy as it’s made at both the city and state levels. Look for our email next week with an update on policies that impact you. The four most important ones of this week (with links to more information) are:


You: Read our future communications and speak up if you have concerns or want to voice support of these policies.


#3 Parking and Transportation Programs

Parking and Transportation programs must adapt to match the needs of downtown in this new reality. We are working on this but we need your input. Have ideas, questions or concerns about parking and transportation downtown. Email Alex by Tuesday, May 26th to let him know. Remember, these programs are funded by the Downtown Improvement District Tax which must be used for parking and transportation programs by city charter.


#4 Frontline Foods Vermont 

I continue to volunteer for Frontline Foods Vermont. In the past month we’ve raised over $150,000 and spent over $60,000 at local restaurants who have served nearly 4,000 meals to frontline workers. Special shout out to People’s United Bank and Pomerleau Real Estate and Farrell Distributing for their support and generous donations. We’re expanding, including a gift card program. Want to learn more contact me: Kelly Devine – 802-324-2748 or email. Or sign up at Frontline Foods Vermont.




Vermont Business Magazine Announces 2020 ‘Best of Business’ Winners

Every year the Vermont Business Magazine polls their readers and business leaders throughout the State, this year receiving over 53,000 votes, to recognize outstanding businesses in over a hundred categories. Not surprisingly many BBA members were among those winners. Check out who made the list!

Best Hotel for Business Travel:

Best Bank:

Best Restaurant for Business Dinner:

Best Pet-Friendly Office:

Best Sporting Event to Take Clients To:

Best Internet Provider:

Best Commercial Printer:

Best Bank Statewide:

Best Accounting Firm:

Best Commercial Real Estate Broker:

Best Waste Removal Company:

Best MBA Program:

Best Commercial Property/Casualty Insurance Provider:

Best Hospital:

Best Intellectual Property Law Firm:

Best Tax Law Firm:

COVID Update from our Executive Director

Things are very tough right now. They are going to get tougher.

Help is on the way. We’re anxious about the timing. But, Burlington and Vermont need money from the federal government programs to get us through this.

Here is what we need you to do to help your business and all of Burlington.

  1. ASAP: Apply for an Economic Disaster Recovery Loan Advance
    1. Application Link
    2. Select Grant – this can get your $10,000 in a few days
  2. April 3rd first thing: Apply for a Payroll Protection Program (PPP) Grant
    1. Sample Application
    2. Apply through your financial institution (must be an SBA Lender)

These funds are first come, first serve. Don’t wait to apply. You can always decline later.

The applications only take a few minutes. You can apply for both.

You apply for PPP through your local financial institution provided they are an SBA qualified lender. Contact them for the application and required documents. I have spoken to several local banks and they are working through the process of how to administer these loans. Please be patient as our friends in the banking community get ready to serve you. There are links below with more information on each program and how to apply.

Call or email me if you need help. BBA is small, but we are focused on local business.

Help us Help you.

And in the face of this – please keep going. We need you.

Kelly, Alex, Colin and Chris

(802) 863-1175 x4

BBA Resources Page – Updated Daily : The best, and most updated resources we can find to give you information and help as we face this pandemic together. See below for quick links.


Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program: Up to $2million loan you can get quickly.

EIDL Loan Info and Application

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance: Get $10,000 in three days. Use the application above and select grant.


CARES Act Highlights

  • Payroll Protection Program: program to help cover costs of retaining employees and staying in business.
  • Applications: Beginning April 3, 2020 – Sample Application
  • Loan Amount: Up to $10 million based on payroll
  • SBA loans processed by qualified banks that can be forgiven or repaid over 10 years
    • Forgiveness is tied to employee retention
  • Great, visual overview from the US Chamber can be found here

 Employee Retention Tax Credit – credit given via your tax return of $5,000 per employee

  • Limited to companies with fewer than 100 FTE
  • Businesses can’t get this and a Payroll Protection Program grant
  • Great, visual overview from the US Chamber can be found here

SBA Debt Relief and Bridge Loans – available to those who currently have SBA Loans

  • Work with your local lender

SBA Resource Page – COVID-19

Extra $600/week for those on unemployment: this will come to all people collecting unemployment benefits and is available until 7/31/2020.

State of Vermont

  • Rooms and Meals Tax: Due March 25 and April 25, no interest or penalties for paying late
  • Income Tax: Extended to July 15th from April 15th
  • Agency of Commerce and Community Development

City of Burlington


COVID-19 BBA Mission Statement

To promote and enhance the economic vitality of Burlington by working to keep the shut down as short as possible and to work on initiatives that help businesses survive today and ensure business comes back when the threat has passed.


How Burlington Businesses are Helping


As always, we are seeing Burlington rise to this unprecedented challenge and have been so proud of our local businesses stepping up to find unique and creative ways to help and continue serving our community.

Burton Snowboards Donates 500,000 KN95 Masks, Prototype Facilities in BTV Make Face Shields

Skirack Donates to #GogglesforDocs

Skinny Pancake Launches “ShiftMeals” to Donate Pre-Made Meals to Food Shelves and Community Members


Seven Days Highlights Spirit of Ethan Allen III, #SaveLocalVT Campaign

Pg.24-25, Seven Days, 4/1/20

Boys & Girls Club of Burlington Gets a Boost From Local Businesses 

Burton Athletes Say #StayHome

Pomerleau Real Estate Strings Lights to Thank Everyone Who is Working Hard to Keep Essential Services Going

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Donates Masks to UVM Health Network

City Hardware Gives Away Free American Flags

Scientific Instruments Made by BioTek are Helping Develop a Vaccine

COVID19 – Resources for Business

*This post will be regularly updated

The BBA, in partnership with the Church Street Marketplace and CEDO are working to compile and continually update COVID-19 resources for businesses.  Below is a list of these broken down by city, local, state, and federal resources.

H/T to the Church Street Team for their great work on much of this.

Update the Community on your Operations

Church Street Marketplace, Burlington VT


Church Street Marketplace Website  is regularly updating a list for ALL Burlington restaurant and retail businesses on their operational changes.  Continue to send updates and they will be posted. 



Seven Days is also developing “Good To-Go Vermont” as a new resource to help find what your favorite eateries are serving up via takeout, delivery or curbside pickup.

ADD YOUR BUSINESS to Seven Days “Good-to-Go”

Burlington’s “Good-to-Go” Takeout & Delivery List


CITY Resources

City of Burlington COVID-19 Page

Near daily updates of city’s response, Mayor’s video updates, and breakdown of all city department curtailed and maintained services.


Community and Economic Development Office – COVID Resource and Recovery Center

Community resources to help Burlington citizens and businesses through these uncertain times. Please call or email at 802-755-7239/[email protected] if you need help finding resources or would like to suggest an addition to this page. This number will be staffed from 8 am – 4:30 pm M-F, and we are striving to get back to everyone within 24 hours.


Water and Electric Will Not be Shut Off

The City has ensured all municipal services (water and electric) will not be terminated for non-payment of delinquent water and electric bills. They are also offering late payment forgiveness for water and electric bills.



Keeping Your Business Safe

The BPD is dedicated to keeping your businesses safe during this time. They will continue with all usual patrols. However, to help them out all merchants should email Lt. Wade Labrecque [email protected] with landline of store, primary contact if no one in store, and secondary contact if primary can’t be reached.


Local and Member Business Resources


Davis & Hodgdon CPA Logo

COVID-19 Resources for Your Business and Tax Questions

Stay up to date on Parking and Transportation at


STATE Resources

How to Help Your Employees

The Department of Labor has multiple resources to help you assist your employees through this difficult time.

Utilize employer resources here. Encourage staff to file for unemployment with this form.

Share the Impact You are Facing

Please continue to share the impacts COVID19 has had on your business via the Agency Business Impact Form , which will help the ACCD assess the full impact as they work toward solutions.

SUBSCRIBE –  COVID-19 Economic and Community Response Newsletter

Essential Business Questions

Commercial entities, non-profits, employers and others with questions about the acceptable continuation of business operations should contact the Agency of Commerce and Community Development via this online form.

Advice for Business Interruption Insurance Coverage 

The Department of Financial Regulation has posted new Business Income Insurance Guidance. Details will vary from policy to policy, so if you have questions regarding your insurance coverage, please contact your insurance agent or broker.

Office of the Vermont Attorney General

COVID-19 Updates and Information from the Attorney General

The VT Attorney General’s Office has posted resources for COVID19 FAQs including Workplace Guidance for Employers and Employees, Price Gouging, Landlord-Tenant and Foreclosures, and Heating Fuel, Propane and Other Utilities.

VT Public WiFi Hotspots

FEDERAL Resources

Important information from the SBA on the CARES Act can be found HERE

Help Our Mail Carriers

The US Postal Service will hold your mail – however it is of great help to them if you can fill out this form so that the carriers aren’t forced to carry your mail around unnecessarily.

United States Department of Labor

U.S. Department 0f Labor Coronavirus Resources


Senate Passes Emergency Relief Fund

We will be working with CEDO to understand what assistance is coming down the pipeline for you all. We will have an update and more clarification for you soon.

BBA Annual Dinner Postponed

BBA Annual Dinner Postponed


BBA’s leadership and board have assessed the COVID-19 situation over the last two weeks, and based on the current set of facts and guidelines, the smart decision is to postpone the BBA Annual Dinner scheduled for April 2nd. We are monitoring the situation as it unfolds and will focus our resources on helping our members navigate this challenge.

We will be regularly updating you, our members with any and all helpful information, resources and financial support.

The Vermont State Department of Health has the most current source of information regarding the COVID-19 in Vermont.

VT Department of Health COVID-19 Info

If you have questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact me directly.

Kelly Devine
Executive Director

[email protected]


BBA/AARP Candidate Forum Take-Aways

The BBA and AARP were excited to once again host city council candidates for a forum on livability issues in Burlington. These events help inform voters about key issues  like housing affordability.

Town Meeting Day is Tuesday, March 3rd this year and participation in our local elections is very important. Be sure to get out and vote. Burlington has same day voter registration. Voter Information.


BBA/AARP Question

Question #1: “Like the rest of the state, Burlington’s population is aging.  According to the US Census Bureau, over the next decade and beyond, the percentage of people 65 and older will grow more than any other age demographic. Right behind older adults are people in their twenties.  

How can our city grow, develop, and redevelop in a way that addresses the needs and desires of these two demographics? Name two changes you would support to address their needs?”

Ward 8 candidates Adam Roof and Jane Stromberg’s answer:


Ward 1 candidates Jillian Scannell, Zoraya Hightower, and Sharon Bushor’s answer:


Ryan Nick, Max Tracy, and Brian Pine’s answer:


Ericka Redic, Sarah Carpenter, and Ali Dieng’s answer:

Question #2: “Are there policy changes that you feel are necessary to address the downtown Mall Project to ensure completion?”


Ward 8 candidates Adam Roof and Jane Stromberg’s answer:


Ward 1 candidates Jillian Scannell, Zoraya Hightower, and Sharon Bushor’s answer:


Ryan Nick, Max Tracy, and Brian Pine’s answer:


Ericka Redic, Sarah Carpenter, and Ali Dieng’s answer:


Question #3: “On this year’s Town Meeting Day ballot voters will see two questions asking for their approval to increase taxes. These are a proposed increase of the Housing Trust Fund assessment to a full penny as well as a $.03 increase in the Public Safety Tax Rate. 

What are your views on these tax increases, which are likely to result in higher housing costs?  How could you address the concerns of our older and younger citizens who already say they cannot afford living costs in Burlington?”


Ward 8 candidates Adam Roof and Jane Stromberg’s answer:


Ward 1 candidates Jillian Scannell, Zoraya Hightower, and Sharon Bushor’s answer:


Ryan Nick, Max Tracy, and Brian Pine’s answer:


Ericka Redic, Sarah Carpenter, and Ali Dieng’s answer:


Question #4: “What is your strategy to make transit a practical daily option for a wide range of Burlingtonians and to assure it will be accessible for everyone?”


Ward 8 candidates Adam Roof and Jane Stromberg’s answer:


Ward 1 candidates Jillian Scannell, Zoraya Hightower, and Sharon Bushor’s:


Ward 2 candidates Ryan Nick and Max Tracy and Ward 3 candidate Brian Pine:


Ward 4 candidates Ericka Redic and Sarah Carpenter and Ward 7 candidate Ali Dieng:

Question #5: How would you balance the needs of all users, residents and businesses of the Winooski Ave Corridor?


Ward 2 candidates Ryan Nick and Max Tracy and Ward 3 candidate Brian Pine:

Question #6: The city is currently proposing removing the minimum parking requirement for new development in the downtown and transit corridors. What are your views on how this  change will help promote affordable housing stock?

(Follow-up)  Would you support further expanding this to residential and lower density areas?


Ward 2 candidates Ryan Nick and Max Tracy and Ward 3 candidate Brian Pine:


Ward 4 candidates Ericka Redic and Sarah Carpenter and Ward 7 candidate Ali Dieng:


Audience Questions

Question: This audience member says they believe Burlington has a very large pension liability. How may we address this liability should the money from the sale of Burlington telecom be applied towards this?


Ward 8 candidates Adam Roof and Jane Stromberg’s answer:


Ward 1 candidates Jillian Scannell, Zoraya Hightower, and Sharon Bushor’s answer:


Question: Last night the Burlington City Council voted not to invest in Burlington Telecom. What is your opinion on this and why?


Ward 4 candidates Ericka Redic and Sarah Carpenter and Ward 7 candidate Ali Dieng:

Closing Statements


Ward 8 candidates Adam Roof and Jane Stromberg:


Ward 1 candidates Jillian Scannell, Zoraya Hightower, and Sharon Bushor


Ward 2 candidates Ryan Nick and Max Tracy and Ward 3 candidate Brian Pine:


Ward 4 candidates Ericka Redic and Sarah Carpenter and Ward 7 candidate Ali Dieng:

The BBA Remembers Bobby Miller


“On behalf of the BBA Membership and Board of Directors, and me personally, we were so saddened to learn of Bobby Miller’s passing. Bobby did a tremendous amount to help grow Burlington and the region’s economy. He was a pioneer, a risk taker and a self-made man who was a vibrant example of how one person can transform a community. Bobby did well: and then he did good, reflecting the true spirit of a community-minded citizen. As both an entrepreneur and philanthropist he exemplified the essential combination that makes one a success in a community like ours. In 1993, the BBA awarded him its highest honor: The Nate Harris Award for Business Person of the Year, a recognition for all he did for all facets of our community. In the years that followed Bobby continued to combine business success with this strong sense of community. He was a friend and mentor to many BBA leaders; myself included. He was always warm and kind. He always cared. Our community is forever grateful to have called him one of our own.” – Kelly Devine, Executive Director

BBA & AARP to Host City Council Forums on Livability

*The February 13th debate in for Wards 5 & 6 has been cancelled*

The BBA & AARP are excited to announce another year of City Council Candidate Forums in advance of the coming Town Meeting Day Elections.

The BBA has partnered with AARP for a number of years to host City Council and Mayoral forums to help better inform our community on local issues. Together we’ve promoted thoughtful conversations with candidates around critical issues to Burlington’s vitality like transportation, housing, job growth, and land use. 

Town Meeting Day is Tuesday, March 3rd, the same day as the Presidential Primary in Vermont. Be sure to take a local ballot at the polls.

Join us at the forum in your neighborhood!



Are you registered to vote? Is your registration up to date? Check your registration status here.

Not sure what ward you are in? Look up your ward and polling place here.