Vergennes economy feeling effects of COVID-19 pandemic

Published: May. 14, 2020 at 9:18 PM EDT
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Vergennes and its local businesses are like many small Vermont municipalities that are trying to weather the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus.

"We learned very early on that we were all pretty much unprepared for something of this size and scale," said Vergennes Mayor Jeff Fritz.

Vergennes store owners say they've had to modify their business models.

"It's really driven us to pivot our direction a little bit, so we're really looking to drive our business to more of online, kind of e-commerce," said Laura Mack, the owner of LuLu Ice Cream.

"We have definitely had a lot of clients reach out, obviously concerned about us, as well as wanting to know when we will reopen," said Hillary Devine, the owner of Shear Cuts.

Those businesses said they were happy to work together with the city of Vergennes.

"Hyping up Vergennes, and the downtown partnership have done a really good job," Mack said.

The nonprofit Vergennes Partnership works to inform local families about how they can help local businesses and business owners.

"The Vergennes Partnership is constantly trying to stimulate our community," Devine said.

Members of the partnership say it's focused on holding out until the pandemic ends, and looking to the state for more turnings of the spigot.

"I think that we'll be able to sustain the closure, but it would be nice to have some sort of direction on when things are going to be back up and running," said Jamie Smith, a fitness instructor and owner of Vergennes Movement.

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