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.

Register Now for the BBA’s 2020 Winter Social

Register HERE

Join us on Thursday, January 30th from 5:00pm – 7:30pm for the 2020 BBA Winter Social at The Hilton Garden Inn. Warm up a cold winter night with a stylish evening featuring great networking as well as a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres from the Armory Grille and Bar.




Jennifer Morrison Confirmed as Interim Police Chief

The Burlington City Council unanimously approved the appointment of Jennifer Morrison as interim Police Chief at last night’s city council meeting. Morrison previously served as Chief of Police in Colchester from 2013 until 2018 and before that was a member of the Burlington Police Department from 1990 until 2013. 

“My first week or two is going to be focused internally and steady the ship at One North Avenue. That is job one, let there be no doubt.” Morrison emphasized when asked about her first steps as Chief. 

Mayor Weinberger highlighted Morrison’s experience locally, saying in reference to her time as the Colchester Chief, “her tenure there was noted for being one of great transparency, as well as one in which she really was a leader for regional solutions for mental health, addiction and emergency response challenges.” 

Morrison was sworn in and started on the job immediately after her confirmation. She is expected to serve for four to six months while the administration conducts its search for a permanent chief.

Read more in the VTDigger article here

Holiday Lighting Returns to the Downtown Side Streets

Burlington, VT – The Burlington Business Association (BBA) is excited to announce an expansion of the downtown holiday lighting project, which had a successful first year in 2016. Since then we have expanded our downtown lighting, this year including College St. The white holiday lights will be installed by the Burlington Electric Department, who helped to facilitate the initiative.

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, who was the DAG Committe Chair at the time and now runs the Church Street Marketplace.

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 side street businesses and further extend the holiday vibrancy through the downtown. Since the pilot project was installed in 2016, the holiday lighting 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 additional street lamps for upcoming holiday seasons.

We’d like to thank this year’s sponsor, Burton Snowboards. Burton has enthusiastically supported this program in previous years, and we are very grateful to have them as a sponsor.

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



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.


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




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.


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.


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.


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.