Around the Chamber August 2023

Page 1

August, 2023

Vergennes Day

In This Issue

5- Chamber Briefs

12 - Behind the Scenes (Amey Ryan)

20- New Member Spotlight (Green Mountain Social)

27 - Best Practices (Social Media)

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Around the Chamber ACCOC publishes Around the Chamber monthly and it reaches thousands of business, non profit leaders and their employees in Addison County and beyond. Around the Chamber boasts an average 49% open rate with an average read time of 8:30 Members are encouraged to supply their announcements and events by emailing For ad availability and rate card email Addison County Chamber of Commerce 2023, All Rights Reserved Have something to say or an idea for this publication? Contact us!
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In July, The Addison County Visitor Center welcomed its' 900th visitor since opening on April 24th. Visitor inquiries were led by "Where to eat", "shopping", "directions", "things to do" and "places to stay".


In July, the Chamber launched an updated "Community Profile" booklet available on All members are featured along with important resources, including transportation, demographics, government, tourism, education, and highlights of our largest towns. Community Profiles is one of the most frequently visited areas of which receives up to 6,000 page views per month. To view our Community Profile go here


In July, Vermont Cider, Linda's Apparel and the Men's Corner were the first members to take advantage of our new display cases at the Visitor Center. Members who are interested in scheduling a slot in the displays should contact Phil Summers for details.

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Behind the Scenes with Amey Ryan

Each month, "Behind the Scenes" features an interview with a leader in our community designed to provide readers a glimpse into his/her interests and passions inside and outside of the workplace

This month, "Behind the Scenes" sat down with Amey Ryan the owner of IPJ Real Estate in Middlebury

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Quincy, Massachusetts. I lived there until I graduated from high school and went to college in Vermont!

Where did you go to school?

I graduated from Castleton State College in 1999 and I never looked back. I’ve been here in Vermont ever since.

First ever job?

Who do you most admire?

I admire fighters. People who’ve been dealt a blow in life, pull themselves up by the bootstraps and persevere. I admire people that show up to lend a helping hand. I admire my fellow small business owners. I admire the people that run our local nonprofits – all of which play an integral role in our community.

Favorite Vacation Spot?

Who was your greatest inspiration growing up?

George Brewer (a fellow Realtor) hired me right out of college. I had zero experience working in an office, but he took a chance on me and hired me to be his assistant and office administrator. George is an excellent teacher and provided me with the basis of many of the systems we have in place at IPJ Real Estate. Tough question for me. I guess it depends on when you consider me a grown up!? I’ll say that working with Coleen Beck was likely my greatest inspiration from a career standpoint. I learned many things from Coleen and above all was to treat people well and with kindness, be professional and give back to your community.

For many years we went to Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida for a mostly golf vacation. We were there when Covid hit, and we’ve only been back once since. I aspire to do an organized bike trip somewhere in the US that I haven’t yet explored. I grew up vacationing in Marshfield, MA with my mother, aunts, and cousins. Marshfield was my mom’s favorite spot so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Amey Ryan

Behind the Scenes with Amey Ryan

Favorite movie, TV Show?

I love good sitcoms. We watch re-runs of Seinfeld, Two and a Half Men and some other old school shows. They are solid comedy in my opinion. Lately we’ve watched several seriestype shows. The most recent, The Night Agent, caught our attention and we bingewatched the last few episodes glued to the TV!

Favorite type of music?

I listen to lots of different stations depending on my mood, but I love Brandi Carlisle and music like hers. It’s also fun to listen to our local station WVTK and hear a familiar voice and memorable music from the past.

Typical work week?

Real estate can be challenging if you expect anything typical! I pretty much work, in some capacity, every day. I am in my office Monday through Friday and occasionally on the weekend. I try to work from home on weekends and fit some fun stuff in between. I’m an early riser so a hike or bike ride, this time of year, usually happens before the workday gets started!

Biggest Career Challenge?

Our biggest challenge right now is the market. With such a limited inventory and an abundance of potential buyers, we still have buyers that would really like to move to Vermont or move within Vermont!

From a career standpoint, I’d really like to teach/train someday. My business is such that I must be involved in the day-to-day operations and sales for things to work like they have been. But in the future, I hope to still be relevant enough to help teach and train the next generation!

What's the greatest career risk you have taken?

Some would probably think that the biggest risk I’ve taken was buying IPJ Real Estate. In fact, the biggest risk was when I left my first real estate job to go work with the Coldwell Banker Bill Beck RE team. I left a solid paying job with benefits for a hybrid position. I essentially worked parttime for the office in an administrative role, part-time for the top producing agents in the firm and part-time for myself building my own real estate clientele based solely on commissions earned. Buying IPJ Real Estate was a relatively simple decision as Ingrid Jackson and I had worked so closely for so long it was a seamless transition! Not that I didn’t ask for help in making that decision. I was lucky to have a few mentors help guide me along the way!

What's the one thing you would like to see change in your business/industry?

I would like to see a minimum standard requirement for agents entering the business. We often work with newly licensed agents who have received little to no practical training. I’d also like to make the public aware that, as in every industry, the consumer has a choice and aligning yourself with a professional who provides the best service will work to your advantage. This is certainly our mission at IPJ Real Estate!

Presentors Matthew Cropp Program&OutreachCoordinator at Vermont Employee Ownership Center Lynne Silva President at Silva Group NATIONAL BANK OF MIDDLEBURY Sep 13, 2023 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM AttendIn-PersonorZoom Brought to you by: LunchProvided REGISTER HERE

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Introducing Green Mountain Social: Boosting Local Businesses with a Personal Touch

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, businesses are facing new challenges and opportunities when it comes to reaching their target audience. In this ever-changing world, having a strong online presence is crucial for success. This is where Heather Tillotson and Green Mountain Social come in - a dynamic advertising agency that combines creativity, strategy, and personalized service to help local businesses thrive in our digital age.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Heather, the passionate and visionary owner of Green Mountain Social, to learn more about her agency and how it is revolutionizing the way local businesses approach advertising.

Born and raised in Addison County, Heather, a seasoned marketing expert with over 25 years of experience in business and technology, is the mastermind behind Green Mountain Social. With a deep understanding of the power of social media and digital marketing, Heather recognized the need for a more personalized and strategic approach to helping businesses navigate the digital landscape successfully.

"What sets Green Mountain Social apart is our commitment to building genuine relationships with our clients," says Heather.

"We believe in going beyond the surface level and truly understanding our clients' businesses, goals, and target audience. This allows us to create tailor-made strategies that drive results, locally and beyond."


Attention to Detail and Professionalism

One key aspect that sets Green Mountain Social apart is their unwavering attention to detail and professionalism. From the initial consultation to the execution of campaigns, Heather and her team are committed to delivering exceptional service at every step of the journey. "We believe that success lies in the details," says Heather. "We pay close attention to every aspect of our clients' campaigns - from crafting engaging content to monitoring analytics and making data-driven decisions. Our meticulous approach ensures that we are constantly monitoring, optimizing and fine-tuning strategies for maximum impact."

Driving Results through Creativity and Innovation

At Green Mountain Social, creativity and innovation are at the heart of everything they do. The agency prides itself on thinking outside the box and staying ahead of the curve when it comes to industry trends and emerging technologies.

"We strive to bring fresh ideas to the table," says Heather. "We are not afraid to take risks and push boundaries. By leveraging the latest tools and techniques, we help our clients stand out in a crowded digital landscape and capture the attention of their target audience."

A Final Word: Harnessing the Power of Green Mountain Social

In a world where online presence is necessary, Green Mountain Social is paving the way for local businesses to thrive in the digital age. With their personalized approach, attention to detail, and innovative strategies, this agency is transforming the way businesses approach advertising.

Whether you're a small local business or a large corporation, Green Mountain Social has the expertise and passion to help you reach your goals. As Heather aptly puts it, "We are here to not only boost your business but also become a trusted partner on your journey to success." If you're ready to harness the power of Green Mountain Social and take your business to new heights, don't hesitate to reach out. Your success story awaits, and Heather can't wait to meet you!

*To learn more about Green Mountain Social and their services, visit their website at

*To learn more about Heather and how Green Mountain Social came to be, visit

*To talk with Heather and learn more about how Green Mountain Social may be able to help YOUR business in the digital and social advertising arena, schedule a FREE valuepacked strategy hour here.


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Best Practices

"Best Practices" is our new recurring feature designed to give your organization helpful advice for maintaining efficient operations

Social Media Basics

Using social media for your business can feel overwhelming. There are so many different platforms to choose from, and creating and scheduling posts can be time consuming. However, most of the US population actively uses social media every day to connect, engage, and share, which means that social media is a free tool at your disposal, where people are waiting to hear from you.

Why use social media for your business?

Social media can benefit businesses in a couple of different ways. First, you can use your social media to connect with your audience and build community. It not only allows you to share information with customers, but it also allows them to contact you to ask questions and offer suggestions. By strengthening your customer relationships through social media, you improve your brand perception and encourage people to return to your business. Social media can also help to increase brand awareness at low (or no) cost. Organic posts are free, and boosted posts cost significantly less than running targeted ads through typical channels.

Easy social media tips to get started

Set Goals. Before creating a social media account, you should sit down and decide what your goals are for using social media for your business. Do you want to sell your products? Do you want to increase awareness? Do you want to improve customer relationships? Answering these questions and establishing goals for your business will help you decide which social media platform is the best for you to use.

Best Practices

"Best Practices" is our new recurring feature designed to give your organization helpful advice for maintaining efficient operations

Social Media Basics

Decide on a Platform. One of the most important beginning steps in using social media for your business is deciding which platform, or platforms, to use. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok are the most popular sites for businesses to use, and can all be good starting points, but which one you should use will depend on the demographics of your targeted audience and what your goals are.

Facebook is the most used social media platform globally with almost 3 billion monthly active users. Around 69% of US adults use Facebook, and all age groups from 18 to 65+ years old are relatively active. It can be used to sell products and has a wide variety of options for boosted posts and ad campaigns, which can help increase brand awareness.

Instagram is used by about 40% of US adults, and its population is younger than that of Facebook, with the most active age groups falling between 18 and 49. Instagram lends itself to a variety of content with different posting methods such as Reels and Stories, and is good for businesses who have a lot of visual elements.

Twitter is built for conversation, making it good for strengthening customer relationships. Just under a quarter of US adults use Twitter, and similarly to Instagram, their most active age group falls between 18 and 49 years old. With a 280-character limit per Tweet, Twitter is good for quick, frequent updates.

TikTok is a platform on the rise and can be good for attracting younger customers. 21% of US adults use TikTok, and half of those users fall between 18 to 29 years old. Creative, short-form videos perform best, and it is easy to go viral.

Be Consistent with Posting. Some platforms, like Facebook and Instagram work best with between two posts a day to four posts a week, while others, like Twitter and TikTok, may need more frequent posting to maximize their benefits. However, all platforms require consistency and maintenance. It may help to create and schedule content in advance.

Best Practices

"Best Practices" is our new recurring feature designed to give your organization helpful advice for maintaining efficient operations

Social Media Basics

Quality over Quantity. Try not to overwhelm yourself to the point of creating poor quality social media posts. If you can’t maintain the quality and frequency of posts simultaneously, choose quality, as it will appeal to your audience more than quantity.

Diversify Content. Social media users want to see different types of content on their feed, so both your content and its format should be diverse. Be sure to utilize all formats available on a given platform to encourage high levels of engagement. For example, on a platform like Facebook, you should leverage photos, videos, live streams, polls, and more to diversify format. In terms of content, try creating how-tos, customer or employee spotlights, behind the scenes, product highlights, and Q&As to prevent your feed from getting boring.

Keep up with Community Engagement. Think of your social media as an extension of your customer service. Reply to comments, even when they’re not asking questions, and make sure you check your direct messages regularly, so you don’t leave people waiting for a response. You should also use your social media to network and support business’ accounts by following, liking, commenting, and sharing to help build community.

What now?

Social media can be an invaluable tool for your small business, but you have to monitor and maintain it. Be as consistent as possible, and make sure to check in on your goals. Most social media platforms offer analytics and insights, which you can use to see what strategies and posts are working well, and which maybe aren’t, allowing you to adapt and change your tactics and maximize the benefits of your accounts. Happy posting!

(Pew Research, Social Media Fact Sheet 2021)
Thank you! Thank you! Each month in "Around the Chamber" we will recognize new and renewing members for their support in helping ACCOC enhance and improve the business and non-profit communities in Addison County. Welcome New Members Thank you! Thank you!

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Robert Feuerstein, Kennedy Brothers (Chair)

Megan Mandigo, Marble Trail Financial (Treasurer)

Nancy Foster, Champlain Valley Properties (Secretary)

Adam Rainville, Maple Landmark (Past Chair)

Phil Summers, ACCOC (Executive Director)


Dickie Austin, Black Sheep Bistro

Amy Carlin: Middlebury College

Doug Dewitt, Bristol Financial Services

Meaghan McLaughlin, National Bank of Middlebury

Ned Horton, Otter Creek Bakery and Deli

Marty Kulczyk, Robert Frost Mountain Cabins

Bethany Dever, Dever Accounting Services

Article IV, Section D Designate Directors

Karen Duguay, Better Middlebury Partnership

Renny Perry, Addison County Economic Development Corp.

Renny Perry, Vergennes Partnership

Bill Sayre, Addison County Regional Planning Commission

Alicia Standridge - Bristol Core