The Retail Market
The one true regional retail market in the state of Vermont is greater Burlington. This consists primarily of the adjacent municipalities of Burlington, South Burlington and Williston. University Mall serves as the only enclosed regional mall in the state but it is far from a dominant retail property that you would expect from the state’s only enclosed regional mall. This is due not only to the age of the property but also to the fact that there is very little large and mid-size box retail adjacent to the mall. Almost all big box retail is located in Williston, in the southern portion of the market, at the Route 2A exit with I-89.
Additionally, Church Street Marketplace is a thriving retail and dining district in downtown Burlington consisting of a pedestrian mall for four blocks along Church Street between Main and Pearl Streets. The district is known for its’ historic buildings, street entertainers, music and year round festivals. With a back drop of Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains, combined with the college town atmosphere from the nearby campus of the University of Vermont, downtown Burlington is one of the most vibrant organic street retail scenes anywhere. Add to this that there is a full line Macy’s department store in downtown Burlington that is tangential to the Church Street Marketplace and it becomes clear why University Mall is not dominant in the marketplace.
The only other community retail corridors in the greater Burlington market are north of Burlington in Colchester at the Route 2 exit with I-89 and the Route 7 corridor in South Burlington.
The other market in the state which has a concentration of regional retail is Rutland. Although no significant enclosed mall exists in the market there is a reasonable presence of big and mid-size boxes to give Rutland a regional trade area.
The town of Manchester is a quintessential New England village that has become one of the strongest outlet shopping destinations in the northeast. Over 40 high end outlet retailers are housed in authentically restored original Vermont structures. Manchester is also home to the renowned Equinox Golf Resort and Spa as well as the Orvis Fly Fishing and Wingshooting School. This combination, along with local farm to table restaurants, make Manchester one of the more high end destinations in Vermont.
The only other concentrations of retail in the state are in Bennington, Montpelier / Berlin and Brattleboro which serve as community retail corridors.
Grocery operators in Vermont include Shaw’s, Hannaford, Price Chopper, Tops, Aldi, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart Supercenter.
Vermont’s major employment industries are tourism, manufacturing and agriculture. Although tourism is what Vermont is best known for, manufacturing is the industry that provides the most stable year round employment. Areas of concentration include precision instruments / specialty metal products, defense / aerospace, and plastics.
The other areas of manufacturing that are prevalent are those that are related to Vermont’s natural resources. Whether wood that is harvested from trees and converted to paper or furniture, sap from maple trees made into maple syrup and candies; or marble, granite, limestone and slate are all quarried and finished into architectural products for homes and commercial buildings; these natural resource products have been manufactured in Vermont for centuries and continue today to be a strong component of Vermont’s economy. Agriculture is heavily focused on the dairy industry. The best known agricultural brand in Vermont is the Cabot brand of premium cheeses that are sold throughout the United States. Headquartered in Cabot, Vermont, The Cabot Creamery Co-Operative is owned by over 1,000 small dairy farmers and allows small farmers to thrive by tapping into the power of the incredibly successful co-operative.
Vermont is also known for its’ strong “cottage industries”. These are small businesses, typically started out of someone’s house or garage, that produce a specialty product that ends up with a loyal following. Many of these cottage industries in Vermont remain small but still account for a beneficial employment sector. Others grow to be large and very successful concerns. Examples of cottage industries in Vermont that have grown into recognizable names include Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Burton Snowboards and King Arthur Flour Company.
The Burlington area, being home to the University of Vermont and St. Michaels College, along with its low cost of living, proximity to first class ski resorts and being located on Lake Champaign; has become very appealing to a young and educated population. This has enabled Burlington to attract a number of technology related companies and this trend seems to be growing. Once a large base of employment for IBM, the IBM downsizing in Burlington during the early 2000’s left a talented high tech employment base that was not interested in leaving the lifestyle they had come to love in Burlington. This led to not only new tech companies coming into Burlington to take advantage of this talent glut but also to the formation of new companies by these former IBM employees that have since become successful companies on their own. In 2015 Global Foundries, the second largest semiconductor manufacturer in the World, purchased the IBM plant in Burlington assuring a stable high tech anchor for the Burlington region. Global Foundries in Burlington is the largest private employer in the state of Vermont.
Area colleges and enrollment
|University of Vermont||Burlington||12,100|
|St. Michael’s College||Colchester||2,400|
|Johnson State College||Johnson||1,500|
|Lyndon State College||Lyndonville||1,200|
|Green Mountain College||Poultney||800|
|Vermont College of Fine Arts||Montpelier||400|
|Southern Vermont College||Bennington||400|
|Vermont Law School||South Royalton||380|
|College of St. Joseph||Rutland||300|
|Global Foundries||Computer Chips||Essex Junction|
|Keurig Green Mountain||Coffee Products||Waterbury / Williston / South Burlington/ Essex|
|GE Aviation||Aircraft Engines||Rutland|
|Dealer.com||Digital Marketing Technology for Auto Dealerships||Burlington|
|National Life Group||HQ – Financial Services||Montpelier|
|Mylan Technologies||Biomed- Transdermal Pharmaceutical Patches||St. Albans / Swanton|
|C&S Wholesale Grocers||Distribution Center – Grocery Products||Brattleboro|
|King Arthur Flour Co.||Baking Flour||White River Junction / Wilder / Norwich|
|GW Plastics||Plastic and Silicone Injection Molding Contract Manufacturer||Bethel/Royalton|
|Brattleboro Retreat||Psychiatric Hospital||Brattleboro|
|Ben & Jerry’s||HQ – Ice Cream||South Burlington / Waterbury / St. Albans|
|DXC Technology||Information Technology Services||Burlington|
|Vermont Teddy Bear Co.||HQ – Teddy Bears||Shelburne|
|Ethan Allen||Furniture- Manufacturer||Orleans|
|Revision Military||HQ – Soldier Protective Systems||Essex Junction / Newport|
|NSK Steering Systems||Automotive Steering Systems and Components||Bennington|
|Husky Injection Molding Systems||Injection Molding Equipment||Milton|
|G.S. Precision||Specialty Machined Metal Products||Brattleboro|
|Cabot Creamery Co-Operative||HQ – Food Producer – Dairy Products||Cabot|
|GE Healthcare||Software – Medical||South Burlington|
|Burton Snowboards||HQ – Snowboarding Equipment and Clothing||Burlington|
|NSA Industries||Precision Metal Machining and Fabrication||Saint Johnsbury / Lydonville|
|Mack Molding||HQ – Injection Molding and Metal Fabrication – Contract Manufacturer||Arlington / Cavendish|
|Sonnax||Drive-train Components||Bellows Falls|
|Energizer||Hearing Aid Batteries||Bennington|
|Biotek||HQ – Biomed – Life Science Instrumentation||Winooski|
|Vermont Composites (Kaman)||Composite Materials for Aerospace, Medical and Industrial||Bennington|
|Hubbarton Forge||Handcrafted Metal Forged Lighting Fixtures||Castleton|
|Rock of Ages||Granite Quarry and Finishing||Graniteville|
|Lane Press||Magazine Printer||South Burlington|
|Gardener’s Supply Company||Catalogue and E-Retailer – Gardening Products||Burlington|
|Food Science Corporation||Nutritional Supplements for Humans and Animals||Williston|
|The Vermont Country Store||Catalogue and E-Retailer – General Merchandise||Manchester / North Claredon|
|Orvis||HQ – Multi Channel Retailer – Fishing and Hunting||Manchester|
|Velan Valve||Industrial Valve||Williston|
|Vermont Aerospace Industries||Aerospace and Defense Components||Lydonville|
|Twin Craft Skincare||Soap and Skincare Products – Contract Manufacturer||Winooski|
|Global Sourcing Group||Cloud Based Telecom||Burlington|
|NewsBank||Online Research Technology||Chester|
|Dynapower||Electric Power Conversion Technologies||South Burlington|
|Simon Pearce||HQ – Handcrafted Custom Glassware and Pottery||Quechee|
|UTC Aerospace Systems||Aerospace Systems and Components||Vergennes|
|Vermont Mutual||HQ – Insurance – Property & Casualty||Montpelier|
|Blodgett||Commercial Food Ovens||Burlington|
|Tivoly||Machine Tool Accessories||Derby Line|
|Catamount Color||Printing and Direct Mail Serivces||Essex|
|Allscripts||Software- Medical||South Burlington|
|Carris Reels||HQ – Reels for the Wire and Cable Industry||Proctor / Rutland|
|Cersosimo Lumber||Lumber Mill||Brattleboro|
|WestRock Missiquoi||Paper Mill – Paperboard||Sheldon|
|Superior Technical Ceramics||Ceramics for Aerospace, Petrochem & Semiconductors||St. Albans|
|Farrell Distributing||Wholesaler – Beverages, Beer & Wine||Rutland / South Burlington|
|Country Home Products||Power Equipment for Landscaping and Gardening||Vergennes|
|Tom’s of Maine||Personal Care Products||Putney|
|Putney Paper||Paper Mill – Tissue, Paper Towels, Napkins||Putney|
|Northern Power Systems||HQ – Wind Turbines||Barre|
|Rhino Foods||Ice Cream Products||Burlington|
|Fiber Mark||Paper Mill – Paper and Paperboard for packaging||Brattleboro|
More Than Just Skiing
Once only known as a winter tourist market, Vermont is now a year round destination. The winter tourist season is driven by the fact that Vermont has the best ski mountains in the northeast, as has always been the case. What has changed over the last several decades is that these great ski areas, through tremendous investments in both their ski and non-ski assets, have transformed themselves into resorts with a range of amenities that drive tourist traffic all year. The variety of amenities’ include exclusive golf courses, resort style pools, world class spa facilities, dining facilities that range from family friendly to high end local chefs. Add to this tennis facilities, mountain bike parks, zip lines, bungee jumping, trail running, nature hikes, paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing, endurance obstacle courses, motorized mountain tours, and water park rides along with the best fall foliage in the country and you have activities that drive tourist traffic every month of the year.
Traditional ski areas such as Killington, Stowe, Jay Peak, Stratton, Mount Snow, Mad River Glen, Sugarbush, Smugglers Notch and Okemo have all successfully made this transition. Organized events are held throughout the state in the spring, summer and fall months for running, road biking, mountain biking, triathlons and obstacle racing.
Forty percent of the tourists visiting Vermont are from the large population centers in Massachusetts and New York, with 50% of the tourists traveling to the state from outside of New England and New York. The majority are coming to visit with large discretionary income. Although winter (December – March) is still the strongest single tourist season with 40% of the market, summer (June – August) and fall (September – November) now each account for 25% of the market. A dramatic change from when tourists only thought of Vermont as a winter destination.
|Claremont – Lebanon, NH – VT MSA||219,000|
|Grafton County, NH||89,000|
|Windham County, VT||57,000|
|Sullivan County, NH||44,000|
|Orange County, VT||28,000|
|Burlington, VT MSA
|Grande Isle County||7,000|
|Rutland, VT MSA||62,000|
|Barre/Montpelier, VT MSA||60,000|
|Bennington, VT MSA||37,000|
|Berlin, NH – VT MSA||39,000|
|Coos County, NH||33,000|
|Essex County, VT||6,000|
|Less New Hampshire Counties||166,000|