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The Perkins’: Building a Family Business and a Dream

July 25, 2013 in Community Development, Stories by Jen

Danny and Debbie Perkins spent most of their careers in upstate New York, but always dreamed of living in Vermont. Debbie spent years running delis and mastering flavor combinations and cooking techniques. Danny worked at the same furniture company for 22 years before the fallout from the real estate bust changed that.  Together, Danny and Debbie decided to take that change as an opportunity to pursue their dreams.

Perkins Deli

Danny, Debbie and Chris Perkins

Building a Dream

Danny grew up visiting his family’s cabin in Southeastern Vermont. He loved the area and passed that love to his wife and son, Chris. Taking everything they had, they moved to the area and began to create their vision of bringing great deli flavors, home-style food, with a cozy, comfortable  space to a small community.

Today you can find Danny, Debbie, and Chris celebrating their one year anniversary at The Perkins Country Deli (20 Valley Street) in downtown Springfield. Alongside their deli meats and cheeses, they offer homemade specials from lasagna and meatball subs to pizza and classics such as tuna salad or egg salad. They post regular updates on their Facebook page and the reviews there are fabulous.

Community Feedback

According to Danny, it is the customer comments and reviews that are the most satisfying this first year. The community has been very supportive, but not everyone knows about them yet. Tucked away just out of sight of Main Street, they can be hard to spot and haven’t had much to invest in advertising. Fortunately, word of mouth is spreading and customers using the bank parking lot are sent directly past the storefront.

They  hope to soon be able to expand their hours (currently open 8 – 4 M-F and 8 – 2 Saturday). Sandwiches and meals are prepared in a clean, sunny, and open area. Being able to see everything that happens behind the counter was an important element for Debbie. It makes sense. If you’re going to spend time preparing things from scratch, you want people to see and experience as much of that as possible.

Perkins Deli Counter

Deli Counter

Fresh, quality ingredients were amongst the other  ‘must haves’ on Debbie’s list. That is why all the produce comes from Black River Produce, which Danny says is sourced from local farms and, although a little pricier than some options, the quality can’t be beat. They also support other local businesses. Heaven Scent Bakery supplies all their fresh pizza dough which Debbie works to perfection for every pie they make, topping it with fresh homemade tomato sauce- no frozen or canned short-cuts here.

Pursuing Passions

Debbie isn’t the only one with cooking talents. Their son Chris makes a sweet/ spicy hotdog sauce that gets rave reviews. And the talent doesn’t end there. Debbie creates one of a kind gifts such as dolls and scarves.  Although Chris is helping out at the deli, he also has a degree in graphic arts which is a fortunate thing for the Deli and anyone passing by.  The stunning sign and artwork that adorns the deli was all done by Chris.

Chris says that he was inspired by the architecture of the downtown buildings and wanted to showcase the beauty that surrounds their new location. As you can see, he captured that and something more in his art- perhaps even a little piece of the Springfield soul.

Sign and artwork by Christopher Perkins

Sign and artwork by Christopher Perkins

The Future

The pride in Danny’s voice is obvious when he talks about his son’s and wife’s talents. I suspect he may have some of his own, but he was far more interested in talking about them.

They hope in the next few years to be making even more people happy with their food- to be able to purchase their building and expand the inside seating. It’s not a ‘take over the world’ kind of dream. It’s the kind of dream and commitment our country was built on and that we may need a little more of: enough to live a full, happy life doing what you love with people you care about in a place that feels good.

Daniel and Christopher Perkins outside deli

Daniel and Chris check out the sign Chris made for the deli

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by Jen

re.Find: A Thrift Boutique Opens on Main Street

July 15, 2013 in Community Development by Jen

Sharing Space, Friendship, and an Entrepreneurial Spirit

re.find: A Thrift Boutique storefrontThere is a new store in town and it’s looking pretty good. re.Find: A Thrift Boutique is now open and operating inside the Jenny Wren Cafe (formerly known as Apron Strings), at 41 Main Street in historic downtown Springfield.

The new boutique is a long-time dream of  owner Andrea Carr and offers a variety of new and gently used women’s clothing, accessories and shoes. Growing up, Andrea did a lot of thrifting and found a passion in rooting through and discovering hidden treasures. She wanted to bring a piece of that to Springfield and offer a place where people could shop for good quality clothing at truly affordable prices. She hopes her mix of hip and trendy hits just the right note for area residents and current customers of the cafe.

Although Andrea and Jen, (Jenevieve Johnson), the owner of the Jenny Wren cafe, have only known each other for about six months, their common interests helped solidify a friendship that led to the opening of the store within a cafe.  Of this shared space, they say: “The blend of the two businesses provides a funky and relaxing atmosphere where you can enjoy delicious food and drinks while taking home a treasure all in one stop!” Now that re.Find is officially open, you can check it out from 10 am to 6 pm daily.

On Saturday, July 20th, re.Find is having their Grand Opening celebration. There will be specials at both the boutique and the cafe.

Markowitz: Revitalizing blighted properties is good for communities and good for the environment

June 24, 2013 in Community Development by 802eureka

Shumlin brownfields law June 18 2013bBy Opinion

Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Deb Markowitz, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.

Last week, a small crowd gathered in an industrial railyard at the southern end of Battery Street in Burlington. Gov. Peter Shumlin, EPA New England Brownfields Director Carol Tucker and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, along with representatives from Vermont’s congressional delegation, joined Secretary Miller and I as we launched a new program that will advance the redevelopment of old industrial sites in Vermont. Under this new initiative, known as the Brownfield Economic Revitalization Alliance (BERA), we will help communities and developers across …read more

From: Life in Vermont