Main Street Alliance awards businesses, legislators; and announces new board member

News Release — Main Street Alliance

Oct. 28, 2015

Burlington, VT – The Main Street Alliance of Vermont celebrates their first year in Vermont by honoring the owners of 3 Squares Café in Vergennes and Red Hen Bakery in Middlesex and announces Sue Bette, owner of Bluebird Barbecue, as a new member of their Vermont State Board.

At a celebration hosted by Melinda Moulton, CEO of Main Street Landing, Main Street Alliance of Vermont marked their first year of work in Vermont by giving out awards to two businesses and two legislators to recognize their work in moving the Earned Sick Days bill through the House in the last legislative session. They also announced the newest addition to their State Board, Sue Bette, owner of Bluebird Barbecue in Burlington. They were joined by former Governor Madeleine Kunin and Speaker of the House, Shap Smith – both outspoken advocates of the earned sick days bill.

Matt Birong, owner of 3 Squares Café and Randy George and Eliza Cain, co-owners of Red Hen Bakery accepted the MSA-VT Business of the Year awards. Chair of the MSA-VT Board and COO of White and Burke Real Estate Investment Advisors, Stephanie Hainley, said of Birong that the group singled him out for the award because he demonstrated “the spirit of coming to the table, engaging genuinely – even going outside your comfort zone – to find a good solution and then standing up and supporting it” which, she said, characterizes the approach of Main Street Alliance. Birong started out the 2015 legislative session not supporting the paid sick days bill and was moved to support the bill after working with the group to identify compromises for small businesses, which made it into the bill as it passed the House.

The group also gave awards to Representative Tom Stevens of Waterbury and bill sponsor, Representative Tristan Toleno of Brattleboro. Another MSA-VT Board Member, Caleb Magoon owner of Powerplay Sports in Morrisville and Waterbury Sports echoed the sentiments of Hainley in presenting the award to Toleno. He said of Toleno, “As a small business owner like us, he wanted to understand the details of how an earned leave bill would actually function before he could support it. But he understood the value of the principle: that all people need some time off to manage their lives and care for their families. And so it was in that spirit that he began to engage with the legislation and eventually took over as lead sponsor in 2015.” Magoon, who opposed earlier versions of the paid sick days bills in previous years was a vocal supporter of the compromises in the 2015 bill.

Sue Bette is the founder and owner of Bluebird Vermont, a hospitality company operating Bluebird Barbecue and Bluebird Parties! in Burlington, Vermont. A native of upstate New York, Bette received her B.A. in History from Saint Michael’s College and M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Vermont. In 2007, Bette moved to Berkeley, California to study food and beverage and attained accreditation as a Natural Chef from Bauman College, achieved Level 1 Certification from the International Sommelier Guild, completed a one-year apprenticeship at Three Stone Hearth Community Kitchen, and founded a food blog called feelgoodeats. In 2009, Bette returned to Vermont to open Bluebird Tavern, which achieved national recognition by the James Beard Foundation, Food & Wine Magazine, and Bon Appetit Magazine. In 2010, Bette opened Bluebird Coffee Stop and in 2012 opened Bluebird Barbecue and Bluebird Parties!

Stephanie Hainley said, “We are so pleased that Sue will be joining us. Her experience in running successful restaurants will be an important perspective in a Vermont sector of business and workforce that is highly affected by MSA-VT’s platforms and policies.”
In joining the VT State Board of Main Street Alliance, Bette joins Eliza Cain, co-owner of Red Hen Baking Company in Middlesex; Melinda Moulton, CEO of Main Street Landing in Burlington; Stephanie Hainley, COO of White and Burke Real Estate Investment Advisors; Jen Kimmich of the Alchemist in Waterbury; Eric Warnstedt of Hen of the Wood in Burlington and Waterbury and Doc Ponds in Stowe; Wayne Nelson, partner at L.N. Consulting in Winooski; and Caleb Magoon, owner of Power Play Sports in Morrisville and Waterbury Sports.

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