40th Anniversary Impact Report

BBA Membership Has Impact. And we want to tell you about it.

To celebrate the Burlington Business Association’s 40th anniversary we’ve captured the impact that together BBA members have made on Burlington. We also take a look at what lies ahead.

We work hard every day on behalf of the business community. Our team of four is passionate about making sure Burlington is the best place to live, work, and do business. We advocate for you at City Council and in the Mayor’s office. We manage projects that promote Burlington’s economic vitality. And we bring the community together to foster a brighter future for our city.

40th Anniversary Impact Report

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Executive Director Kelly Devine, a member of staff, or a member of the BBA’s Board of Directors to find more about getting engaged. We are passionately focused on Burlington’s economic vitality, we need your help. We couldn’t do it without our members, your membership dues, your time, your donations and your support. All help make our work possible and help make Burlington better.

There is more work to do, but in 40 years, we’ve come a long way together.

Cocktails & Connections is Back! Nov. 13th at Halvorson’s

The Burlington Business Association is pleased to announce another Cocktails & Connections Networking Event at Halvorson’s on November 13th from 5-7pm. Cocktails and Connections is the BBA’s casual networking event that brings everyone from young college graduates to seasoned business professionals into one room, and is just one way the BBA brings the local business community together.

The event will take place in Halvorson’s back patio space. A cash bar will be available, and complimentary light hors d’oeuvres will be served. Tickets are $20, BBA members are eligible for a discounted ticket price of $10. While pre-registration online is encouraged, tickets will also be available for purchase at the door.

Register Here

 

“BEST OF BURLINGTON” ONLINE AUCTION RETURNS 9/18

The 2019 “Best of Burlington” Online Auction goes LIVE on Wednesday, September 18th and will run through October 8th. This event is the BBA’s annual fundraiser that broadcasts all the amazing restaurants, events, hotels, retail and experiences Burlington has to offer.  Bidders from near and far have the chance to win great deals on fantastic items.

SEE THE ITEMS AND BID NOW

This event is possible through the support of presenting sponsor Parkmobile. Last year’s auction featured nearly 400 bids from 11 states and provinces!

Another Year of Can’t Miss Items

Highlights of this year’s event include: an autographed Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtic’s hat courtesy of TD Bank; a SCUBA certification course from the Waterfront Diving Center; $100 Gift Certificates to American Flatbread and WND&WVS. Also featured are overnight stays at Burlington hotels like the HiltonCourtyard by MarriottHotel Vermont and Green Mountain Suites.

Donations are still being solicited as we hope to be collecting nearly 100 items from local businesses. If your business is interested in connecting with a wide audience through our auction please reach out to [email protected] for more information. Last year saw the “Best of Burlington” Online Auction reach a wide audience. Showcasing our donating businesses to customers located both here in Chittenden County and across the northeast U.S. and Canada.

In addition to scoring great deals on some of Burlington’s favorite shops, restaurants and experiences, this years auction features the return of the Parkmobile Prize Package Give Away, worth $500! Like last year, three winners will be randomly selected from Parkmobile’s database of users, and each will receive a golden envelope packed with over $160 worth of gift certificates to 8 of Burlington’s favorite restaurants and cafés.

Learn more about using the Parkmobile app to pay for parking in Burlington at www.parkmobile.com! We would also like to thank our media sponsors, WCAX and Hall Communications for their support, as well as our generous donors and bidders.


View All Auction Items

Thank You to Our Presenting Sponsor

Thank You to our Media Sponsors

99.9Buzz

 

 

Register for the BBA Summer Social

The Burlington Business Association will once again bring together our local business community for a night of great food, refreshments and networking. Join us, at the Burlington Surf Club, Thursday September 5th from 5pm-7:30pm, to send off Summer ’19 with the BBA’s Summer Social.

REGISTER NOW FOR THE BBA’S 2019 SUMMER SOCIAL

Thursday, September 5th 5-7:30pm

Burlington Surf Club

32 Lakeside Ave.

The Summer Social is a mainstay in our annual calendar and serves as a tremendous opportunity to meet new members of Burlington’s business community. September 5th’s event will include delicious pizza from the Pizza Papillo oven and plenty of refreshing beverages.

The 2019 Summer Social will be held at the Burlington Surf Club, a staple of the Burlington Waterfront. Providing calm beaches, paddle boards, wind surfing, sunsets, and much more to the Burlington Community, the Surf Club will make for the perfect way to send off Summer ’19.

This years social will have a bit of an entrepreneurial theme. We’ll be auctioning off a ticket to Silver member Reconciled’s upcoming Entrepreneur Summit, a +$200 value. Attendees will also have the opportunity to tour HULA, the south end’s newest co-working and incubator commercial office space and even meet some of the campus’s soon to be tenants.

Registration is currently open and costs $45 for BBA Members and $55 for non-members. Anyone with questions should reach out to [email protected] or give us a call at (802) 863-1175.

Thank you to our host sponsor Burlington Surf Club, raffle sponsor Reconciled, and all of our Platinum members for their support for the BBA’s wide range of member events.

REGISTER

Congratulations to our Seven Daysies Winners!

Image result for seven daysies logo

The Seven Daysies winners were announced, and no surprise, many of them were BBA members!

Best family restaurant: American Flatbread

 

Best breakfast/brunch: Penny Cluse Café

 

Best lunch: Leunig’s Bistro & Café 

 

Best place to eat alone: City Market/Onion River Co-op 

 

Best locally-owned grocery store: City Market/Onion River Co-op 

 

Best farmers market: Burlington Farmers Market

 

Best bread bakery: August First Bakery 

 

Best Mexican restaurant: El Cortijo Taqueria y Cantina (Farmhouse Group)

 

Best pizza (restaurant): Pizzeria Verità 

 

Best pizza (delivery): Leonardo’s Pizza 

 

Best burger: The Farmhouse Tap & Grill

 

Best nachos: El Cortijo Taqueria y Cantina

 

Best cremee: Burlington Bay Market & Cafe

 

Best draft beer list: The Farmhouse Tap & Grill

 

Best hard cidery: Citizen Cider

 

Best women’s evening-wear store: ECCO

 

Best place to buy jewelry: Perrywinkle’s Fine Jewelry

 

Best place to buy a unique gift: Common Deer

 

Best housewares store: Homeport

 

Best garden center: Gardener’s Supply Company

 

Best ski/snowboard shop: Burton Snowboards

 

Best accountant: Gallagher, Flynn & Company

 

Best real estate agency: Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty

 

Best real estate agent: Michaela Quinlan, Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty

 

Best lodging (resort/hotel): Hotel Vermont

 

Best place to take an arts class: Burlington City Arts

 

Best bike rental shop: Local Motion

 

Best water sports rental: Community Sailing Center

 

Best indoor children’s play space: ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain

 

Best wine list: Dedalus Wine Shop, Market & Bar

 

Best wine shop: Dedalus Wine Shop, Market & Wine Bar

 

Best place to drink alone: The Archives

 

Best film festival: Vermont International Film Festival

 

Best local theater company: Lyric Theatre Company

 

Best classical group ensemble: Vermont Symphony Orchestra

 

Best performing arts venue: Flynn Center for the Performing Arts

 

Best vintage clothing store: Old Gold

 

Best kitchen store: Kiss the Cook

 

Best local TV news station: WCAX

 

Best lace to take an out of towner: Church Street Marketplace

 

Best people watching place: Church Street Marketplace

 

Best foot race: Vermont City Marathon & Relay

 

City of Burlington Credit Rating Upgraded to Highest in 10 Years

Mayor Weinberger announced Monday that Moody’s Investors Services has upgraded the City of Burlington’s credit rating two steps from “A2” to “Aa3”. This is the first time in 10 years the City has received a Double A rating.  From 2009 to 2012 the City was downgraded multiple times, eventually falling to just one step above junk bond status at “Baa3”.

The BBA’s Chair of the Board, Shireen Hart, was there alongside city officials and community leaders. She spoke on the importance of this improvement credit rating to the business community as highlighted by Local 22/44. Hart said “Our Double A credit rating means the city is able to finance the necessary work to maintain and improve our city at lower borrowing rates; ultimately saving taxpayers money.”

 

 

MAYOR MIRO WEINBERGER: City of Burlington Receives Two-Notch Credit Rating Upgrade from Moody’s Investors Services

The “Aa3” rating is Moody’s fourth-highest rating and translates to an issuer with high quality and very low credit risk. The rating agency cited a “growing and strong reserve position and very strong cash position” as the reason for the upgrade supported by an expanding tax base highlighting the city’s strength as the economic, higher education, and medical center of Vermont. The resolution of Burlington Telecom litigation was also mentioned as “ highlighting an experienced management team and eliminates significant financial risk.”

Full Statement from Shireen Hart, Chair of the Board:

 

The Burlington Businesses Association welcomes this continued improvement in the City’s credit rating. Moody’s has once again recognized the responsible fiscal stewardship of Burlington under the current administration. Our Double A credit rating means the city is able to finance the necessary work to maintain and improve our city at lower borrowing rates; ultimately saving taxpayers money. Much like a personal credit score of 750 or higher; this credit rating shows that Burlington is strong and poised to grow.

With this two-step upgrade to Double A the City can borrow more affordably, allowing taxpayer dollars to go further. City investment in new and improved roads and sidewalks, and much needed storm and lake water treatment for a cleaner lake will now be more affordable. This Double A credit rating also gives the city more options when developing projects on our waterfront like the Moran Plant, bike path and Greenway upgrades.

This news is encouraging to our business community and reason to celebrate, but, as Moody’s stated, Burlington faces continued challenges including a very tight labor market and limited affordable housing.

The BBA has long advocated growing the housing stock in our city and will continue to do so, especially following the City’s Housing Summit last month.

The BBA looks forward to working with Mayor Weinberger’s administration and city officials to address these challenges. We remain committed to helping Burlington thrive, and with this news from Moody’s the city is better poised to do so.

###

 

Member Update: CityPlace Burlington Development

 

As many in our community have by now likely heard, last week Brookfield announced their plans to redesign the CityPlace  Burlington project. On Friday I had the opportunity to share the BBA’s perspective when VTDigger when asked about the delay. 

I emphasized that downtown businesses are anxious to see the project completed and a belief that this redesign is the best bet to speed up that process. 

To read my full comments in VTDigger article on the project’s redesign, click here.

Our community was told by Don Sinex and Devonwood that project construction would begin this year. It is now clear that that will not happen. The time frame for construction could be a few years.

This is not the best news for Burlington. At the BBA we will continue to advocate for a project that both meets some keys needs of the downtown and can happen as quickly as possible.

Key Downtown Needs:

  • A project that is economically viable and positioned for long term success
  • Reconnection of St. Paul and Pine Streets
  • A substantial increase of housing units for all people across all income levels
  • Parking to support the project and the city’s economy

At this point in time, Brookfield Properties is committed to delivering such a project.

 

Project Setbacks and Progress

 

While the optimistic among us may have hoped this project would be completed by now, it is important to remember some of the setbacks that put the project in this position, including the discovery of asbestos during the demolition process, and the near-constant lawsuits this project has faced. 

It is also important to recognize the importance of Brookfield’s acquisition of the Macy’s property. This was not part of the original plan, but taking this extra space into account, a redesign could result in a slightly shorter building. The project’s height has been the main point of objection from opponents to the project from the beginning. We should hope that a redesign will limit obstructionist lawsuits moving forward. 

It is undoubtedly frustrating to look at the ‘pit’ every day, but, it helps to remember how much progress has been made. Significant money has been spent to prime the lot for a mixed-use development that will replace a suburban style, asbestos-filled, product of urban renewal. 

Update on CityPlace Burlington from Mayor Miro Weinberger

 

Our Work

 

We remain committed to advocating for you and your business during this time of change in our downtown. We do this through initiatives like Park Burlington, our call for increased flexibility as to how DID funds can be spent, our work to address downtown safety and security, and our work for housing policy that encourages more housing downtown.

We understand that some of you in the business community may have additional questions or concerns, and we urge you to call or email me.

Kelly Devine

Executive Director

 

Recaping the 2019 BTV Housing Summit

Last week, Mayor Weinberger and city officials hosted a housing summit at City Hall. The summit featured an afternoon-long working meeting with breakout sessions as well as an evening town hall and delved into Burlington’s housing challenges, opportunities, and key topics for policy reforms. Kelly and Colin of the BBA were both in attendance and participated in a variety of breakout sessions.

Lisa Bender, President of the Minneapolis City Council, was the keynote speaker. She spoke about the successes that Minneapolis has had in addressing their own housing shortage through a number of progressive policy reforms including changes to policies of single-family zoning, Accessory Dwelling Units, Inclusionary Zoning, and parking minimums.

The summit focused on five key areas of policy reform as identified in the City’s 2015 Housing Action Plan. The items were:

Housing Trust Fund –  restoring and increasing funding to the City’s Housing Trust Fund.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) – rule changes to make it easier to create small houses or apartments that exist on the same property lot as a single-family residence

Short-term rentals – regulating short-term rentals like Airbnb in order to balance the economic benefit for Burlingtonians with potential impacts on renters and neighborhoods

Parking minimums –   changing the parking we require for new homes, especially in the downtown

Energy efficiency in rental housing –  updates to protect renters from unreasonably and wastefully high utility costs

 

You can read more about these policies and details of the housing summit on the city’s website.

https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/mayor/burlingtonhousingsummit2019

The administration cited a goal to deliver draft ordinances for priority policy reforms to the City Council for action this fall.

Housing affordability and supply is a top  issue of the BBA’s advocacy efforts. We know that affordable workforce housing in our area is critical to Burlington’s economic vitality. To that end, the BBA has and will continue to advocate for policies that help increase housing stock of all types, from permanently affordable to market rate units, as a means to addressing Burlington’s housing crisis.

Registration Open for Waterfront FAM Tour

Get your sunglasses out! Summer is on the way and to celebrate the annual Waterfront FAM(iliarization) Tour is back on June 6th! This is one of our most popular annual events and is free for BBA members. Kick off the season with the BBA and learn what our waterfront members have planned for summer 2019, all while enjoying an afternoon cruise aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III on Lake Champlain.

More information and registration

 

Burlington Business Association FAM TourTake some time to network with fellow members of our local business community. Delicious complimentary appetizers will be provided by the Spirit of Ethan Allen and drinks will be available at a cash bar.

This event is free for BBA members and $10 for non-members. Space is limited so register ahead of time to reserve your spot. The boat leaves the dock promptly at 4pm so be sure to arrive on time so you don’t miss it!

Event Date: Thursday, June 6th, 2019

Event Time: 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Location: Aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III, 1 College Street, Burlington VT 05401

Waterfront members are invited to speak at our “Minute at the Mic” and provide updates about their business as well as event information for the coming season. If you would like showcase your business this year sign up by following the link below. If you have any questions, please contact Administrative Coordinator Jack Commo

Sign Up for “Minute at the Mic”

 

Thank You to Our Event Host and Catering Sponsor:

Get Your Tickets for the BBA Dinner Raffle

The Burlington Business Association (BBA) is pleased to announce the return of the BBA Dinner Raffle to support Howard Center Street Outreach Team. Thanks to a generous donation from Perrywinkle’s Fine Jewelry, we will be raffling off a gorgeous necklace and earrings set at our 41st Annual Dinner on April 4th at the Hilton.

The winning raffle ticket will receive a necklace and studs from the Starlight Collection. Each piece was crafted here in Vermont and Montreal, Quebec. They feature 14k rose gold and responsibly sourced black diamonds. The screw back studs include 58 black diamonds. The total value of the package is over $1000.

The BBA Annual Dinner and Awards will take place at the Hilton Burlington on Thursday, April 4th from 5-9 pm. Tickets for the raffle are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased for $25 each or two for $40. Follow the link below to purchase them now.

BUY YOUR TICKETS

Last year’s Rolex Raffle raised $4000 for the Howard Center Street Outreach Team, which assists those with mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, and unmet social service needs and coordinates services for those individuals. The primary goal of the team is to increase access to services for all individuals. The secondary goal is to address concerning behaviors that necessitate immediate intervention but do not rise to the level of an emergency response.

This raffle is made possible by Perrywinkle’s Fine Jewelry. The Burlington Business Association, founded in 1978, is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization with over 250 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.