Kick Start funds three new Midd companies

MIDDLEBURY – Middlebury town center will soon have three new businesses offering products from women’s clothing to wine, thanks to a new round of start-up grants offered through the Kick Start scheme.

The Better Middlebury Partnership (BMP) recently confirmed the award of a $20,000 Kick Start grant to the two Schmetterling Wine Shops, slated to open next month in the former Wild Mountain Thyme spot at 48 Main St. .; and “Middleton”, a store at 66 Main St. (formerly Mendy’s) that promises “classic and unique clothing options” for Middlebury residents, tourists and students.

A third start-up business received $15,000 in start-up assistance: Calvi’s, a seasonal operation in Frog Hollow Alley that will offer hard and soft ice cream as well as pancakes, via window service. Calvi’s is Helen Hall’s tribute to an old fashioned ice cream parlor that once operated in Middlebury town centre.

“We are thrilled to welcome these new businesses to downtown Middlebury,” said BMP General Manager Karen Duguay. “We see downtown come alive and it’s wonderful to experience.”

It was last July that six new businesses each received grants of $15,000 to $20,000 – along with a wide range of support services – to fill some of the Middlebury storefront vacancies created by the pandemic. of COVID-19, the construction of the downtown railway tunnel and the market. forces.

The Kick Start grants were made possible by a total of $120,000 provided by the Town of Middlebury ($50,000), a non-profit charity called “Table 21” ($50,000), the Middlebury Rotary Club ($10,000) and an anonymous donor ($10,000).

Original Kick Start winners included Addison West, selling home and lifestyle products; that of Calvi; Midd Rock Bouldering Center; Middlebury Studio School; Sparrow Art Supply; and Your Home Too, a vintage and vintage-inspired lifestyle boutique.

Grant recipients had six months to start their business. Middlebury Studio School, Sparrow Art Supply and Your Home Too followed through with their plans, but Midd Rock, Addison West and Calvi’s were unable to follow through on the sites they had targeted.

Midd Rock couldn’t find a suitable location.

Addison West continues to operate in Addison West at 44 Main St. Owner Monique Bonner had sought to acquire a building in downtown Middlebury. That deal fell through and Bonner recently bought a building in Waitsfield.

Hall had originally targeted a location in the Marble Works shopping complex to house Calvi’s. A number of factors, including staffing and supply chain shortages, halted its original plan. The Kick Start committee invited Hall to reapply to the program for the second round, resulting in Calvi receiving a $15,000 grant — contingent on the store launching this summer, according to Duguay.

Calvi’s will remain open until the fall and will continue to seek opportunities to become a full-service restaurant over the next two years.


Owned by Erika Dunyak and Danielle Pattavina, Schmetterling is presented as “a boutique of natural wines”. Their app promises customers a comfortable space to browse and ask questions in a non-judgmental atmosphere. Pattavina and Dunyak say they also seek to provide a safe Queer space in the community.

“We plan to have experienced staff to guide client selections and curation focused on low intervention production, in the field and in the cellar; Addison County wine and cider; ethical work practices; and wine produced by women, queerfolk and BIPOC makers,” the partners proclaimed.

Reached by phone, Pattavina and Dunyak said it would be their first store together.

Dunyak is a lawyer specializing in small business and social enterprise law.

“My customers are mostly food and farm customers,” she said. “Although this is my first venture into the retail industry, I have back-office experience working with these kind (socially conscious retail) customers.”

Dunyak is working virtually with a Colorado-based law firm, but is seeking the license required to work with Vermont clients.

Pattavina has worked for over 20 years in various capacities in many restaurants, bars and farms in Massachusetts, New York and California. She said she most recently owned a “Queer and natural wine bar” on Martha’s Vineyard.

Along with Schmetterling (German, for “butterfly”), Pattavina is planning a natural wine/grocery store in Cambridge, Mass. called “Mama’s”.

Dunyak and Pattavina reside in Shoreham and were looking to launch a store together. Schmetterling will focus a lot on the types of wines one would find in Germany, Austria and Alsace. They are also committed to showcasing local wines and network with small growers in Addison County.

“All wine will be natural wine, so we’re focusing primarily on small producers who treat the land well and don’t add a lot of waste to their wine,” Dunyak said.

The couple hope to open Schmetterling by the first week of July. They are considering a schedule Thursday through Monday, 12:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Pattavina and Dunyak are looking to hire one or two employees. For more information on the new venture, log on to


Middleton is the brainchild of Parlor owner Lisa Phelps and Elissa Kestner, who both have extensive entrepreneurial experience. Phelps needs no introduction; she is the driving force behind Parlor at 57 Main Street, which offers a range of hair styling and waxing/dyeing services.

Kestner owns Monelle Vermont, in Shelburne and Burlington. Monelle sells a wide variety of apparel, accessories, footwear, homewares and gifts.

Their Middleton selection will include premium denim, shirts, accessories and outerwear. In their Kick Start app, Phelps and Kestner said their goals for their women-owned business would include “helping women find the best version of themselves.”

While the focus will be on women’s clothing, Kestner has promised items for men and children.

Phelps and Kestner have known each other for several years and have collaborated professionally in the past. They agreed that Middlebury town center could use a quality clothing and accessories store, offering several price points for discerning shoppers. In Middleton, one will be able to get the “everyday basics” – including t-shirts, sweaters, jackets and trousers – but also this special set for special occasions and job interviews.

“We’re kind of this ‘day to dusk’ store,” Kestner said.

Middleton will also be giving unique gifts from Vermont and Middlebury, Kestner said.

The owners, who are currently building a store website, plan to open in the fall.

“I love the town of Middlebury and the town dress aspect of it,” Kestner said. “We are pleased.”

Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]

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