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New businesses touted at new marketplace

Originally Posted in the Rutland Herald | Story by Patrick McArdle | October 1st, 2018

The Downtown Rutland Partnership on Saturday used a new downtown asset to promote new downtown assets.

At the recently opened Center Street Marketplace, Steve Peters, the partnership's executive director, and Nikki Hindman, marketing and events coordinator, set up a booth and, using colorful balloons, directed people to learn about more than a dozen new businesses in the downtown.

“We're just encouraging people to get outside. People hear that there are new things but sometimes they need a little motivation so that was our goal today,” Peters said.

In the marketplace, which was designed to be an outdoor gathering place and event space, Peters and Hindman had set up a tent and counter top, where postcards were displayed.

The cards showed the businesses, which Peters said was roughly the new businesses since last summer, and a map of where in the downtown they could be found.

People could also sign up for the partnership's newsletter.

Peters said Saturday's showcase of new businesses was intended to be a low-key introduction and said visitors could stop by the partnership's Merchants Row location to learn more about what's new in the downtown.

At Center Street site, Triumph Barre and Pilates Studio, co-owners and instructors, Rebecca Buonadonna and Brianna McDevitt, said being in downtown Rutland had been “wonderful.”

“We've really only done social media to advertise and it's been great,” said McDevitt.

Buonadonna added that word-of-mouth had helped to fill their classes. The class schedule is posted online and students can join for the workout that fits their schedule.

Triumph has been open about four months.

Buonadonna is on the Rutland Downtown Partnership's board of directors and said Peters and Hindman had been doing good work promoting new businesses. She said she believed Triumph was the 10th new business in 10 months.

“We've really seen a big expansion. It's been fun to be part of a little rush of new businesses,” Buonadonna added.

Lenny “Big Lenny” Montuori, at Big Lenny's Inside Job on Strongs Avenue, served a steady stream of customers on Saturday afternoon.

Montuori's restaurant has been open since February but he ran a hot dog cart for 30 year before making the transition to a stationary location.

“Should have done it 20 years ago,” he said.

When he had the cart, Montuori was not a member of Rutland's chamber of commerce but said it was “wonderful” to receive support like he gets now from the chamber and the downtown partnership.

“Rutland's been good to me. People support me. … I think Rutland's stepping up to the plate. They're coming around,” he said.

Montuori said he wanted to inspire others near his store to make the effort to keep the area looking good.

“Everybody's taking better care now because they don't want to be the sore spot on the corner,” he said.

Big Lenny's was displaying the balloons in the front of the store like other new businesses and Montuori also used the attention to collect donations for the Rutland food cupboard.

Peters said the outreach to, as the postcards said, call attention to “what's new downtown,” wasn't tied to a particular event or occasion except to encourage people to walk around the downtown before the cold weather sets in. He pointed out that even as people approached him and Hindman at the marketplace, work was being done behind them for the relocation of the restaurant, Roots.

Hindman said she was getting a lot of questions about the construction to accommodate Roots and some background on the new businesses.

He said he was pleased the new businesses were a combination that included an art gallery, a coffee shop, a real estate office and an expansion of an existing eatery, The Bakery.

Both Big Lenny's Inside Job and Triumph Barre and Pilates Studio have their own pages on Facebook.

Read more at the Rutland Herald.