Coffee in Enosburg Falls, VT

It’s Monday. Who needs a cup of coffee? That’s rhetorical. Aside from needing coffee, I love a good strong cup of coffee in the morning, or most anytime of day. And I love local businesses that serve good, local coffee brewed just right. Those are the businesses who care about their customers. One of my favorite places to get a cup of coffee in my northern Vermont travels is The Flying Disc in Enosburg Falls, VT.

The Flying Disc on Main Street in Enosburg Falls, VT.

The Flying Disc (left) on Main Street in Enosburg Falls, VT.

The Flying Disc is located in a beautiful historic building in Enosburg Falls, complete with its original storefront and full of historic integrity. It’s a unique coffee shop, complete with records, dvds, video games and other items for sale. Walk right in and you’ll be greeted by one of the owners, Kelee Maddox, who has a lovely soft, southern accent; she’s incredibly friendly and happy to talk with you for a while. Take a seat at the window, the coffee bar, a table or on the couch while you drink your coffee and read or use wifi for a bit.

Good stuff at The Flying Disc.

Good stuff at The Flying Disc.

The Flying Disc brews Vermont Coffee Company coffee (my absolute favorite) Want something more than regular coffee? No problem, there are plenty of options. And while you’re there, try a “super healthy cookie” (with or without chocolate chips). And no, that’s not in quotes to be sarcastic. Kelee made these cookies to get her kids to eat tons of vegetables, but you’d never know it. Seriously delicious and filling, you’ll be glad you tried one.

A beautiful location.

A beautiful location.

What I admire most about the Flying Disc is how reasonable the prices remain. A large cup of coffee is $1.25. And this is excellent coffee, not your standard gas station blend (if you know Vermont Coffee Company, you know what I mean!). It’s refreshing to find a low key coffee shop with affordable prices that really plays a role in the community. It keeps people coming back. (If my route calls for it, I’ll stop in twice in one day, happy to support this local business.)  Enosburg Falls has had better days and years, but it’s making a comeback in northern Vermont. And people like the Maddoxes believe in the town and see the progress.

A historic photo. The building looks much the same, except the staircase is enclosed and now has awnings.

A historic photo. The building looks much the same, except the staircase is enclosed and now has awnings. This photo hangs inside the coffee shop.

So stop in, grab some coffee, browse the music and videos and chat for a while. You can learn about the building’s history or hear about what’s going on in town.

A two story outhouse was removed in the 1940s. Thanks to The Flying Disc for allowing me to snap a photo of this photograph to share. Yikes, what a task it must have been to remove that!

A two story outhouse was removed in the 1940s. Thanks to The Flying Disc for allowing me to snap a photo of this photograph to share. Yikes, what a task it must have been to remove that!

What’s your favorite local business that you admire, and why?

Restored advertisements remain on the building.

Restored advertisements remain on the building.


For the record, I’m writing about The Flying Disc simply to share a great business in Vermont, and to help travelers find a good cup of coffee. Opinions are my own and I’m not compensated in any way for this post.  And if you have a place you’d like to share, send it my way. Thanks! 

Why Buying Local is Worth Every Cent

Have you done any local shopping lately? It’s easier in the summertime when you can places and don’t mind taking extra time to stroll on the streets, or to head downtown rather than to the strip malls on the outskirts. Do you agree? What do you find to be the easiest thing to purchase locally?

Check out this new “Buy Local” infographic. (Who doesn’t love infographics?!)

Click to Enlarge Image

CustomMade Buying Local Infographic

Why Buying Local is Worth Every Cent Infographic by CustomMade

Previous post on Buy Local posters. Will you make an effort to increase your local business spending this summer? Just $10 per month to a local business, as opposed to a big chain? You can do it!

Local Business: Grunhaus

Preservationists love local businesses, and Preservation in Pink is happy to play a part in supporting them since local businesses improve our communities and quality of life. So if you’re cruising the streets of Montpelier, Vermont, swing by the Grunhaus (Nordic Street Eats). A lovely couple run this cart (looks like a castle, yes?) and the food is delicious. If you’re new there, they are happy to explain the choices and they’ll chat with you while they prepare your food. It takes only a few minutes. Bring cash, not plastic. The cart is normally parked near the intersection of State & Elm Streets. And yes, they are there all winter!




(Note: Preservation in Pink is voluntarily reviewing this business and is not compensated for this review. The point is to spread good news about good local businesses.) 

All the Rage: Cash Mobs

March 24th is International Cash Mob Day. What is a cash mob? Good question. A recent community focused, local-centric, economic recovery/boost tool is known as a “Cash Mob.” 

In case you’re wondering, mob refers to people en masse, and not the mob like in The Godfather.  And the term “cash mob” is referencing “flash mob,” in which people break out into choreographed dance or other surprising random, organized activity.  

This mass of people will simultaneously enter (let’s say invade) a local business with the purpose of making a purchase of at least $20 in order to help the proprietor. Perhaps this owner experienced a poor year of sales and deserved the extra help because of his/her commitment to the community. It’s like a wave of economic stimulus within one hour. A little community concern, collective effort and positive vibes and actions can go a long way in helping economic vitality and morale.

While not exactly a bricks and mortar effort or a long lasting community change, cash mobs show the importance of supporting local businesses. A cash mob can show a local proprietor just how much his/her business is appreciated. We all know that every little bit counts, whether financial or a friendly smile and a good day. Business owners need their customers, and we need local businesses in our towns and cities.

Check out if there is a cash mob event near you. Vermont has had two cash mobs already, one in Middlebury and one in Waterbury, with two scheduled for Saturday: Barre and Waitsfield (follow @CashMobVermont on Twitter). But events are everywhere! Follow @CashMob on Twitter for more information. Read this article from  Public Radio International for additional information. YouTube has many cash mob videos from around the country and the world.

If there is not a cash mob in your town or area, Saturday would still be a good day to get and support the local businesses and economy. Instead of heading to the usual chain stores, take one minute to consider the local store you’ve yet to patronize. Perhaps there is a local pharmacy or garden supply store or market or stationery store. Give your town a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Aside from thinking about local businesses, I cannot get the term “flash mob” out of my head. Anyone want to turn synchronized cartwheels down the street with me? No? Okay, how about just setting your lawn flamingos outside to enjoy the springtime?  Happy weekend and happy local shopping!

Looking for Coffee? Wi-fi? Got it.

Have you ever been on a road trip or a business trip or just in a new place and you really wanted a good cup of coffee or a quick snack from a local café, but you just didn’t know where to go? It’s hard to be a good preservationist (in the lifestyle sense) when you’re typically greeted with chain retailers and restaurants when you arrive in a new place, whether it be near the airport or off the interstate or on the outskirts of a downtown.

It’s easy to talk about loving the local places more than the national chains, but unless you’ve done a decent amount of planning or have a lot of time on your hands or you have excellent geographic intuition, finding those unique places in difficult and sometimes out of the question. And while maybe one cup of Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts won’t hurt your preservation soul, it would be even better to find a local coffee shop.

If you feel the same way, you will understand just how thrilled I was when I stumbled across Indie Coffee shops. It’s an internet database that compiles independently owned coffee shops across the United States. As of right now, there are 1838 coffee shops in 871 cities listed. You can search by town, address, zip code – it’s easy. What’s even better is that most of the entries have details beyond the address and phone number. It lists if there is Wi-Fi, food, alcohol, indoor seating, outdoor seating, and if it is a chain of any sorts.  Visitors to the site can submit their local coffee shops if they are not listed. Obviously, there are many more than 1838 in the country.  Go ahead and add your favorites! I added Java Bean Plantation in Southern Pines.

From the “about us” section:  It’s pretty simple … we love coffee and the atmosphere of our neighborhood coffee shops. As the name suggests, this website’s purpose is to provide information on local, independent coffee shops so that people have an accessible alternative to the major chains, no matter where they are.

Consider this an excellent road trip tool. I’ll be using it to help plan out my next trip. After all, I always need a cup of good, strong coffee.

click to follow link
click to follow link

The 3/50 Project

The flyer above says it all: every individual (yes, even you and me) has the ability to help the local economy, a little bit at a time.  And sure, there is always a lot of talk about shopping local and the benefits of doing so, with vague explanations included, but until The 3/50 Project, I had never seen it described so simplistically, so easy to for one person to take action as an individual.

Most of us do a lot of shopping, whether it’s for groceries, clothes, gifts, books, or something else. Most of us probably spend more than $50 per month at businesses. Well, why not take your shopping elsewhere? What if you can’t spend $50? Then spend what you can. Combine  your money with friends and collectively spend $50 at a local business, because that $50 at a local business does more good than $50 elsewhere.

And just what is local independent business?  Good question.  See the 3/50 Project FAQ page for a short answer, or see the Independent page for a longer answer. Basically (according to the information provided): the business is private, it is in business in a community that it serves, it is not a national name brand, it does not have a corporate office, the owners make the decisions and are responsible for the business, there are no more than six business outlet in its registered state of business, and it is not a franchise.

Cinda Baxter began this endeavor with a blog post, a flyer, and a website, and the project has flourished. She, like the business owners she believes in, sleeps little and works hard. Check out her website and support The 3/50 Project by sharing flyers, blog widgets (check out the one on the sidebar), buying coffee mugs, etc.  But, most importantly, make a commitment to your local, independent businesses. Look what one person has already started (thanks, Cinda!). Imagine what you can do.

A note: I learned about The 3/50 Project from a friend in Fayetteville, NC who frequents downtown Fayetteville and the coffee shop, Rude Awakening.  Their website links to The 3/50 Project. Do you know a local business that hasn’t joined? Print out a flyer and drop by your favorite store, restaurant, etc.  Good luck!


Preservation in Pink continues to support efforts that support the local economy. Previous related posts include:  The Good Part About this Bad Economy, No Farms, No Food, Here’s What You Just Did, Christmas Shopping Considerations  series #1, #2, #3, #4.

Christmas Shopping Consideration #3

 A series of posts considering the options for Christmas shopping (online, retail, local, eccentric) and the impacts of our decisions (financially, socially, preservation-esque). This is post 3 of  4. See considerations #1, #2, #4.

Consideration 3: The Case of Online Shopping

There’s avoiding big box retailers, shopping at locally owned businesses, and the consideration of online shopping. Is this preservation friendly? It depends on how you look at it. Again, I claim no economic expertise, so please correct me where needed.

Last Saturday, I was enjoying a leisurely morning with coffee, sun shining in my windows, and some online shopping.  For whatever reason, I can stand online shopping for Christmas anytime in November, but I can’t stand Christmas actually existing in the world before Thanksgiving.  My mom happened to call as I’m doing some online shopping to talk to me about her online shopping.  We have both increased our online shopping in the past two years or so.

I find it to be a pleasant experience. Generally, I can find anything I want on the internet, google something to find a discount code, comparison shop at the same time, and I avoid the annoyances of in store shopping like long lines, the way too early Christmas music playing, wondering if I’ll find a better deal in the next store, driving in traffic, spending extra money on gas, etc. And I can do all of this from the comfort of my couch with coffee, without the worry of spilling my coffee because I’m holding too many things. 

Personal benefits aside, what can online shopping do for preservation?

In considering the environment, it obviously saves gas. Your package will still have to be shipped to you, but it will be shipped in bulk with other items. That delivery truck is going to be out on the roads anyway, but your car not on the roads is helping the environment.   

Consumers are able to purchase products from anywhere in the world, such as small, locally owned businesses. That extra revenue can certainly benefit Main Street America.  Perhaps the small businesses in small towns will have less risk of going out of business.   Or, it could help stores in your own town. For example, every store in my town closes at 5pm, which is when I get home from work. I do not have time to get to the store. Most are only open on Saturdays, which doesn’t always mesh with my schedule. Some of the stores have online stores, which allows me to shop at the store without conforming to their short hours.

But, is online shopping really beneficial to historic preservation?

Where are people shopping online? If it’s still the big box retail stores, is that helping any? It might be, because that could mean less of a need for a physical store. Maybe that gives those acres of trees or that historic street a greater chance of surviving the concrete buildings and parking lot threats.

Could increased online shopping lead to fewer packaging materials and plastic bags and paper products? An article by Koosha Hashemi from ezinearticles discusses this idea. 

With general commerce in mind, online shopping’s effect of decreased foot traffic runs the risk of drawing business away from eateries because people aren’t out, about, and hungry. And it takes away from the possibility of “community” because everyone stays at home. 

There isn’t an easy answer.  Each case can have benefits and drawbacks for historic preservation.  I think online shopping can go a long way in helping small businesses reach out to a greater customer base. What we lack for online shopping now is a database of local businesses. It currently takes a few internet searches to find what you need. 

For now, the best thing to do is weigh your options, consider what factors are the most important to you, and stick to what you believe is the best for historic preservation and you combined.


Next in the series: gift ideas

Christmas Shopping Consideration #2

A series of posts considering the options for Christmas shopping (online, retail, local, eccentric) and the impacts of our decisions (financially, socially, preservation-esque). This is post 2 of 4. See considerations #1, #3, #4.

Consideration 2:  Can you Shop Locally?

I know, I know, I ramble on about shopping in your local downtown and avoiding big box retailers.  You might roll your eyes and call me a crazy idealist.  Okay, fine. But, I am acknowledging that there are instances when people cannot shop local businesses.  For example, some people live in the middle of nowhere (as in, hours to stores) or people live in suburbia (as in, chain stores have taken over everything), or the local downtown caters to the wealthy, the tourists, or those who like tchachkas or really expensive clothes and décor that normal people cannot afford.  And in all honestly, those chain stores sometimes (not always!) beat the local prices.

If one of these fits your situation, then you probably are calling me crazy. Anyway… Now what do you do?

How to Shop Locally.

Consider turning to the world of online shopping (also a separate consideration).   Sites like Etsy, DaWanda, and GLCMall are online stores set up and “owned” by individuals who have a specific craft and sell their work. Craft? By crafts, I do not mean only potpourri pillows and candles and knitted scarves (though some people like such things).  On these sites you can buy artwork, jewelry, clothing, furniture, leather goods, picture frames, kids’ toys, stationery, Christmas ornaments…the list never ends. Etsy even has a search by location function.  Dawanda is based in Germany. DaWanda and GLCMall seem to rely more on crafts than Etsy, but all sites have interesting products.

Take a look and you will see that handmade doesn’t mean grandma style crafty or elementary school art class.  I only know one person who owns a shop on Etsy. Check out Jennifer’s shop for picture frames, mirrors, and furniture.

Why consider such sites? Well, consider this: You may not be able to shop locally, but if you are supporting self employed businessmen and women (the artisans, if you will), then you are at least part of the local economy and not just corporate America. With the search by location feature, you can choose which region to support. What a wonderful idea.

You could also consider shopping ahead of time, when you’re traveling or visiting friends and family. And of course, some good “googling” can usually help you find what you want. 

What about those voids that can’t be filled locally?

No, some items are not sold in locally owned stores because that is no longer how the economy works.  I always think of electronics for this example or mundane necessities like random household cleaning items. We do have our limits. But, that does not mean that presents (aside from electronics) cannot be found. The point is to try. After all, if everyone could just put in some effort then, combined, we can all make a difference and help the local businesses.

Happy shopping! 


Next in the series: online shopping…

Christmas Shopping Consideration #1

A series of posts considering the options for Christmas shopping (online, retail, local, eccentric) and the impacts of our decisions (financially, socially, preservation-esque). This is post 1 of  4. See considerations  #2, #3, #4.

Consideration 1: Avoid big box retailers.

Christmas decorations popped up in stores long before Halloween, some radio stations are already playing Christmas music, and stores already have holiday sales.  I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas…AFTER Thanksgiving. Before then, I consider it my personal horror movie. I love the fall and winter season. They should each have their own season rather than Labor Day, sort of fall, Christmas.  If you haven’t been, you are about to find your mailbox and Sunday paper  bombarded with flyers and catalogs every week, often from the biggest chain stores like Wal-Mart and Kmart and Target.

When you choose to begin your Christmas shopping is on your terms. But, when Christmas season arrives, do you consider where you are shopping? Are you more likely to cave and shop at chain superstores? Or do you look for more unique gifts from boutiques, local and regional stores, festivals, etc.? 

The economy is suffering and holiday shopping is likely to reflect recent economic trends. Consumers will probably shop less, but still shop at the discount retailers like the giants of Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Target.  Local stores and even smaller chain businesses are going to have a hard time keeping pace, I would imagine.

What does this have to do with historic preservation?

While the subject of giant retail stores has many tangents, let’s stick with the basic tenets.  As preservationists we typically want to support local businesses – those that support, appreciate, and create communities, those that comprise downtowns and those who have roots in the area.  Avoiding chain businesses is something that we generally strive for year round, but it might become more difficult when you need to shop for multiple people and spend a lot of money. Temptations might be rising.

Here are a few reasons for avoiding those chain stores:

1.       Shopping locally will keep money in your community.  Money in the community keeps business thriving, which translates into a good quality of life for everyone around.

2.       Local stores will probably be less crowded than the materialistic inducing megastores.  Less crowded stores mean a more pleasant shopping experience for you, which equals enjoying the holiday season and fewer cases of buyer’s remorse.

3.       Many downtowns will have special holiday shopping weekends with store specials and other incentives like snacks and cider.

4.       Employees are usually more helpful in local businesses and can spend more time helping you, when needed.

5.       With all of the scares in children’s toys and food production, you will have an easier time finding answers to those questions at smaller stores.

6.       If you normally shop locally and suddenly cave to large retailers for the holidays, then you’re not really sticking to your beliefs about preservation, are you?

7.       By shopping at chains stores during the most profitable time of the year for many businesses, you’re only supporting the chain. They don’t need to earn more money, if we’re comparing earnings here.

I could go on and on with reasons as to why local shopping is better for the community (read: your life), but we all know that dollars spent in local stores benefit your community.  If you’re up for some deep research, read this report on the affects of big box retail in Austin, TX (from FullCircle). See this blog post or this newspaper article for another list of reasons to shop locally. Chain stores represent corporate America. Yes, America is based on capitalism, but that should mean that everyone has a chance, not that only a few monopolies have a chance to make a living.  

Local Options

Local stores do not just mean “unique gifts,” if you’re not into that sort of thing.  There can be local and regional sporting good stores, toy stores, book stores, hardware stores, etc.  If you live in a city, there will be no end to stores, museum stores (some of the best kids’ gifts, by the way), festivals, flea markets, and other varieties. A place such as a flea market or a festival will probably have unique handmade items, antiques, and typical bulk items from kitchen items to pocketbooks and shoes to home décor, etc.  And okay, sometimes you can’t find everything you need locally, but don’t automatically rely on the big box retailers.

Please, before you shop, consider shopping locally or regionally.


Next in the series: what if you can’t shop locally?