Benjy here. Howdy!
Well, we’ve been open and operating in Montpelier for TEN years now. Man, that’s a lot of life. For those of you who have been in the community for more than a decade (a lot of you!), you’ll recall that we took the space over from Ben & Jerry’s right near the height of ‘The Great Recession’ of the late 2000s. We loved the symbolism of inheriting the space from the iconic Vermont business, and one we so admired and continue to for their trailblazing approach to doing business sustainably. The fact that “The Montpelier Mini Skinny” was roughly the size of an oversized postage stamp helped us more easily stomach the risk on a second location. We funneled every penny we had saved from the OG Skinny on the Burlington Waterfront into a self-funded opening. Keep in mind, the 2009 Waterfront Skinny was roughly 1/3rd the size it is now, and at that time, we thought that was HUGE.
Ten years ago…we had a President that inspired hope. The economy seemed to have nowhere to go but up for everyone, ObamaCare was in the works, 350.org and the environmental efforts of Bill McKibben were just getting going, the legendary Langdon Street Cafe was in its hay-day. A lot has changed in the world since then.
But oh, Montpelier: you’re still standing strong. I know you know you’re a special town, Montpelier. You have huge pride in place, powerful integrity and impressive will and conviction towards your values around progressive politics, the arts, local food and weirdness: ‘Montpeculiar!’ they say. While a lot of towns like to rally around a “Keep _____ Weird” mantra, Montpelier has never really had to do that, because that’s just the way it’s naturally been. A lot of people outside of Vermont like to throw out stats that Montpelier is the smallest US capital and the only one without a Mcdonalds. Maybe that’s weird to some people. To us, that’s just awesome.
So where’s it all going now? Well…we make crepes, we don’t read crystal balls…but here’s what we know: Everyone needs to do their part and thankfully we have the backbone of remarkable towns like Montpelier reminding us that’s it is possible to build a community full of vibrant culture and mutual respect. Wearing our ‘socially responsible capitalist hat’, though, we want to remind everyone that you can protest with action as well as vote with your dollars. Spend your money wisely to empower the enterprises committed to making the world a better place…that’s what we try to do as a business every damned day…and our conviction has only grown as we have matured and witnessed the world around us not going in the direction our youthful selves just about took for granted would naturally happen.
As it turns out, our Montpelier Skinny has been a sleeper hit this whole time: we are laying plans to combat the large agri-food system on the frontlines of foodservice by hopefully expanding into the rest of New England with our little location in the Capital City as the model we’re basing our future locations on…
Montpelier: you’ve been so kind to us. Thank you for welcoming us into your community and supporting us so we could thrive here. We’re super grateful and swear again that we’re going to pay it forward and help pave the way for a better world…that better world that your city’s community has been helping build since before we got here.
So, please, join us as we embark on another 10 years by celebrating the 10 before us this Saturday, June 22nd ALL DAY with beer and food specials and live music all day.
PS: I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer a deep digital bow of respect and gratitude to our leadership in Montpelier over the past decade: Jeremy Silansky, who opened the location and led it with us for several years, Sayer Dwinell-Yardley who worked with The Skinny starting as a dishwasher in Montpelier and moving onto KM, AGM and then to The Chubby Muffin in Burlington for many years. David Heath who took over as GM for 2 years and refreshed the space tremendously before returning to Los Angeles…and the current bedrock of reliability, General Manager Nate Morris alongside his brother, Kitchen Manager Chris Morris alongside all the line level employees without whom we never could have existed. THANK YOU, ONE AND ALL.