Mountain Views - Proudly Independent
Thursday, July 6, 2017
Written by John Bleh
On July 4th each year we celebrate our nation's independence. This year, our Sugarbush parade theme was Proudly Independent. As we see increasing consolidation in the ski industry, we are proud to be independently owned and operated by a few families who love the Mad River Valley...
When you stop and think about it, independence is a theme that makes a lot of sense not just for Sugarbush, but the Mad River Valley as well. With the changing ski industry landscape, as well as a more general changing landscape across the nation where chain stores and restaurants are gobbling up locally owned businesses, the idea of celebrating our independence is that much more important.
What do we mean exactly by independence? Well, consider the number of independently owned and operated farms, restaurants, and shops right here in the Valley. One of the big reasons many of us choose to live here, and many of you choose to visit, is the fact that this area is truly unique in the sense that we have no chain stores or restaurants. We have no stoplights or billboards (a VT law). This is a place that celebrates its uniqueness and its independence from the familiar corporate entities and chains you see sprinkled throughout other towns.
These overarching ideas of independence foster a culture of trying new things and marching to your own beat. Take George Schenk, the founder of American Flatbread right here in Waitsfield. George took his personal passion for cooking with wood and built his own outdoor oven, eventually taking that idea and turning it into an incredibly successful business model with multiple locations and a thriving frozen food business. Now along with his business, he works at re-imagining a sustainable food model in America and at supporting and encouraging healthy relationships between people and food.
Or what about Mehuron's, the Valley’s independently owned grocery store? They started as a country store on Bridge St. in Waitsfield in 1941 before moving to their present location in 1968. Owned and operated by the Mehuron family, the grocery store focuses on bringing high quality food and old-fashioned services to the Mad River Valley. You'll find a number of locally sourced products in the store from around Vermont and the Valley's independently operated farms.
Henri Borell of Chez Henri, our very own John Egan, The Big Picture, The Store - there are many more independent and unique people, shops and businesses in the Valley, and I can't name them all. Remember how I said there aren't any big chains here? That means just about everything is independent in the Valley including our neighbors, Mad River Glen. So don't forget to stop and appreciate that independence at the shops and restaurants you frequent while visiting - it's what keeps our Valley unique.
And then of course we celebrate our own independence right here at Sugarbush. Win, Adam Greshin, and a few others purchased the resort in 2001 and have transformed it into the mountain we know and love today. As other ski resorts continue to be acquired by larger entities, we take pride in the fact that we remain an independently owned and operated resort. We believe there's certainly room for both types of resorts to exist in today's climate, but we think our brand is going to appeal to a lot of people who appreciate the way we're run. It's a real boon to have our president so available and involved in the daily operations of the resort, and I think to some extent an advantage.
So we hope to continue seeing many of you up here this summer. The Highland Festival, Mad Marathon , Eastern States Cup , and Vermont Mountain Bike Festival are all still ahead this month, along with our recurring culinary events . Enjoy the warmer months before thoughts turn to snow.
See you on the mountain,