Radio producer helps bring business to Wilmington

Published: Jun. 16, 2018 at 8:48 AM EDT
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One of the areas hardest hit by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 was the town of Wilmington. Located in the Green Mountains of southern Vermont, Wilmington was able to bounce back and rebuild, but there's still plenty of work to do. Many buildings in the downtown area remain empty.

"A lot of people drive through Wilmington, but we would like it to be a drive-to town as well," Wilmington Works program coordinator, Meg Staloff said.

One member of the community is using his sports celebrity to help usher in a business boom.

During the week, you can find executive producer, Paul Pabst, swapping sports takes with Dan Patrick on the Nationally syndicated, Dan Patrick show. For the last few years, Pabst has had a second home in Wilmington.

"Autumn is great. Summer is great. I even like mud season. That's how invested I am," Pabst said. " It has a much more local feel, true feel. It feels like America was 50 years ago."

Pabst won a celebrity edition of the now defunct video streaming show, Sports Jeopardy. He took his $20,000 cash prize and donated it to the Town of Wilmington. Officials are using that money as a cash prize for its "Make it on Main Street" program.

"If you're in a town that's like fifty or 60,000 people and you can do something for charity, it doesn't really make a dent. I think in a smaller town with two or 3,000 people like Wilmington, this will get a lot of publicity for the town," Pabst said. "So, the spillover isn't just the new business, but maybe some new tourism long term."

"He's (Pabst) a really great guy. He's community oriented. He loves it here and it's really very telling about who he is as a person and it's really exciting," Wilmington Economic Development Consultant, Gretchen Havreluk said.

People can submit their business ideas for the "Make in on Main Street" contest until Monday, July 16th at 5 pm. The business has to help Wilmington and the winner must be ready to move in and get going within a year of receiving the prize.

"I believe that there's really going to be some great strong ideas and I want to work with them and share resources with them that we have on the state level and on the local level," Havreluk said.