V2VG Thrift Store founders Eric and Jen McNail (seated from the left) were overwhelmed with gratitude for the generosity of V2VG volunteers who came together for a full day to assist with a huge inventory donation. V2VG Thrift is located in Franconia. Pictured are from bottom left: Eric McNail, Jen McNail, Bonnie. Second row: Brendon, Rebecca, Nancy, Ken Hartman (the kid), Amy, Gene. Back row from left: Dante, Sean, Kyle, Miro, Glen. Not pictured: Chuck and Tim. (Contributed photo)
“Since 2002, Discover St Johnsbury (previously known as the St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce) has stimulated and promoted the vitality of St. Johnsbury’s cultural, commercial, and community resources through destination marketing, producing community events, support for local businesses, and other economic and community development activities. The organization combines the commercial goals of a business alliance with the structure of a designated downtown organization,” shared Gillian Sewake, Director of Discover St Johnsbury. “The St Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce has rebranded, changing the organization’s public-facing name to Discover St. Johnsbury,” she added.
A strong and clear community brand helps a community differentiate itself to achieve revitalization and economic development goals and unify the stakeholders’ core identity. By promoting Discover St Johnsbury as the brand, the essence of the community, its’ reputation, values, and community-wide expectations, are communicated. The rebranding emphasizes the organization’s pillars: Legacy of the Fairbanks Family, Rails and Trails, Architecture, Maple Center of the World, and Creative Community. These pillars promote history, innovation, interconnectivity, arts and culture. The organization frames these under Play/Shop/Eat/Stay categories that promote and stimulate economic and community development activities. Discover St Johnsbury is a robust organization that will always benefit from additional support. For more information reach out to Executive Director Gillian Sewake at (802) 748-8575, on the web www.discoverstjohnsbury.com, and at the headquarters located at the St Johnsbury Welcome Center, 51 Depot Square Suite 100 in downtown St Johnsbury.
In 2018, Stevie Durocher returned home to Vermont to reopen Dance Workshop, founded in 1964. She had danced at the local studio under the instruction of Kay Welch and Sonia Devereaux for 15 years as an award-winning company member and soloist. She went on to attend Middlebury College where she earned a B.A. with a double major in Dance and English, and a minor in Education. After college, she taught high school English in Middlebury before moving to Manhattan for a job with Random House Children’s Books. “When I got the call with the opportunity to take over the studio I knew this was the moment that would bring me back to the area,” said Stevie. “I was able to reopen Dance Workshop and keep it going in the studio attached to the founder’s house. I knew though that by taking over the business I would need to establish it as my own and that meant moving the location.” In 2020, Dance Workshop moved into a brand new building that is both more accessible and more visible. Right from the initial concept, Stevie factored in space for retail knowing the option could be beneficial. In March 2022, she quietly opened the Kingdom Dance Shoppe, a dancewear store located adjacent to the Dance Workshop studio. Dancewear and dance footwear need to be sized properly for the right fit and Stevie realized the shopping options for local dancers was becoming limited as stores like On Stage Dancewear in West Lebanon and Payless Shoes in St Johnsbury closed in 2019. “Kingdom Dance Shoppe is not limited to Dance Workshop students, the shop is open to all. And, we are stocked with shoes, tights, leotards, skirts, leggings, gifts and accessories. If we don’t have a size, color, or style we can place a special order as needed,” said Stevie adding, “My main motivation to open was that there was nowhere to go. Everyone is welcome regardless of dance studio affiliation. Dancers need supplies and we want them to help them so they can get back to doing what they love!” The shop is open with limited hours, every other Saturday, and by appointment. Additional hours are added during the busy times, with extra assistance from Stevie’s mother Rosemary Durocher, during the fall, Christmas, and the spring recital season. Merchandise carried includes among others the brands Capezio and Danznmotion, as well as Kingdom Dance Shoppe branded merchandise from Wheeler Sports.
Dance Workshop conducts an average of 15 classes a week primarily ballet, tap and jazz, for ages 3 to 18. In addition, Stevie teaches an adult dance class that alternates between ballet and jazz classes. The instruction is varied to allow advanced dancers to hone their skills while offering new dancers an opportunity to learn the basics. For additional information visit www.danceworkshopvt.com or email Stevie at DanceWorkshopVT@gmail.com. Dance Workshop and Kingdom Dance Shoppe are located at 6202 Memorial Drive in Lyndonville, (802) 535-8484.
Eric NcNail, a disabled veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom who served with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division (nicknamed the Screaming Eagles), established the Veterans2Veterans Group “V2VG” in 2017. With support of his friends and fellow veterans Patrick Hazlet, Colin Smith, and Chuck Bradley, V2VG was originally intended to serve veterans of the armed forces. The mission and bylaws have since changed to include first responders, caregivers of disabled veterans/first responders, and qualifying family members of veterans/first responders. The scope of aid has increased as well. V2VG provides assistance with research and paperwork submission to financial aid; this includes assistance with past due utilities and rent, emergency food, heating fuel, vehicle fuel, clothing, personal and hygiene items, and more. “V2VG is staffed 100% by volunteers so all donations go directly to the people we serve,” shared Jen McNail, Eric’s wife. She added, “Our motto is “Family Through Service,” which we live by keeping what we do personal.” V2VG provides veterans resources and while a New Hampshire-based charity, they collaborate with veteran assistance agencies throughout the country. With an eight-member Board of Directors, they can move quickly to verify eligibility and need, enabling them to function as a tactical charity.
V2VG Thrift Store was established as a volunteer-run charity dedicated to providing aid and assistance to area veterans and first responders. All proceeds go to the local Veterans2Veterans Group charity to assist area veterans and first responders further. V2VG Thrift held a grand opening in their new retail location in the old Franconia Village Store in December. “Franconia has been really accepting and supportive,” said Jen. The thrift store accepts household goods items in a re-sellable condition, not broken or damaged. They do not and cannot accept clothing or stuffed animals. In preparation for the winter, they do take some winter equipment.
V2VG Thrift store prices some items while other items are by donation. They view this as helping the community and the landfill. As a 501c3, the sale of items in the V2VG Thrift store is the main funding for the Veterans2Veterans Group. The store is also the only used furniture store in the North Country, which also provides an inventory of medical supplies including used wheelchairs, walkers, shower chairs and such items. V2VG Thrift has a storage unit with beds that is accessible by request and by donation only. “Everyone has something to give. At V2VG Thrift we are happy to give back to help others and show our appreciation for service,” said Jen.
If you have business news and/or a new business discovery you’d like to share with others please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always happy to shine a light on local business and our shared region.
Success! An email has been sent to with a link to confirm list signup.
Error! There was an error processing your request.
Become A Subscriber
A subscription opens up access to all our online content, including: our interactive E-Edition, a full archive of modern stories, exclusive and expanded online offerings, photo galleries from Caledonian-Record journalists, video reports from our media partners, extensive international, national and regional reporting by the Associated Press, and a wide variety of feature content.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.