Coronavirus Resource Guide
Updated 5.18.20 While the COVID-19 crisis is constantly changing, we are making sure to update this page daily with the resources you may need. For your convenience, we've posted several guidance documents here for your reference. Some can be printed and posted in your break rooms and shared with employees and customers. Please call us at 802-839-1928 and tell us how you are effected.
Table of Contents
- Stay Home, Stay Safe Order
- Be Prepared: What Businesses Can Do:
- Labor Issues
- Federal Response Bills
- General COVID-19 Updates
- Business Resources
- Online Business Directories:
- VT Mentor programs and services
- UVM Extension online webinars and resources
- VSFA/VRGA Webinars
- Webinar: What You Need to Know About COVID-19
- Webinar: Doing Business in these Uncertain Times
- Webinar: Business Planning in Uncertain Times
- Webinar: Getting started with virtual retail in the Covid19 era
- Setting Up Shop Online
- Other Shipping Services
- What VRGA is asking your Government Officials
- What Our Members Are Doing: Be Creative. Be Safe.
- Support Local Business - Where your product is being sold
- Additional Resources
Stay Home, Stay Safe Order
Extended to May 15th
The Governor has ordered all non-essential/non-critical businesses to shut down and directs all non-essential residents of the state to remain at home throughout the duration of the order, leaving only for essential reasons. While we cannot provide legal advice on whether your specific business can stay open, we can steer you in the right direction. You can Click here to view the VRGA/VSFA Document Description of the Stay Home, Stay Safe order.
NAICS code guidance list
The Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) has provided a detailed list to help determine which sectors and activities are critical. This document includes clear “yes” or “no” indicators next to each NAICS code determining whether a business may continue in-person business. Find further information and FAQs here.
Retail services list by store
VRGA has compiled a list of businesses in the state providing shopping hours for vulnerable members of the community, curbside pickup and other services in response. If your business is offering special services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please reach out to us to be added to this list.
Food producers and manufactures
VSFA is working on compiling a list of our producer and distributor members who are staying open to manufacture products for retailers. Stay tuned for updates and access to this list.
Be Prepared: What Businesses Can Do:
Businesses deemed critical to public health and safety are urged to offer Curbside Pickup to the extent possible. We strongly encourage you to offer this service. If it is not possible, here are ways to limit exposure to your employees and customers along with helpful links.
If you are staying Open:
- All businesses with 500 employees or less need to hang this Employee Rights Poster up as per the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Here is the FAQ on that Poster.
- Do this checklist: Coronavirus and Preparedness Checklist
- Watch this Tutorial Video
- Hang this sign in your public/employee bathroom: Handwashing Steps
- Educate your employees about the virus, including its transmission and prevention, Print this: Stop the Spread of Germs
- Printable Symptoms of Coronavirus
- Read this Cleaning and Sanitation Guide for Food Retail and Manufacturing
- Closely monitor the CDC, WHO and Vermont Health Department
- Know who is at risk for serious illness.
- Printable Sheet on Keep Germs from Spreading
- Fully read this Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID 19
- Watch this webinar on What You Need to Know About COVID-19 - Food Safety from UVM Extension with VRGA/VSFA.
- If needed, we have compiled a list of Commercial Cleaning Services in Vermont, VRGA is not promoting these companies, we are just compiling the information as it comes in for your benefit.
- Offer curbside delivery or home delivery if possible.
- If some of your employees can work from home, here is the Employee For from Home Guide.
- See Childcare section below.
with access to the public:
- Follow the above staying open list, plus:
- Offer other shopping hours, specific to vulnerable populations.
- Limiting the number of customers to ensure enough space between people in your store.
- Use Creative ways to set up your store so that people have 6 ft of space between them if possible.
without access to the public:
- Follow above staying open list, plus:
- Offer Curbside Pickup and Delivery.
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet between persons.
- Require employees to practice appropriate hygiene measures, including regular, thorough hand-washing.
- Require employees who are sick remain home.
- Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Once you have completed this checklist, Check out this webinar on creative ways to stay in business: Your Store is Closed but your business Isn't
If you are temporarily closing your business:
- Direct your employees to contact the Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Line:
- Existing UI Claimants: Claimant Assistance Line - 877-214-3331
- Employers: UI Employer Services - 802-828-4344
- General questions: Department of Labor Commissioner’s Office - 802-828-4301
- The online unemployment claim system is now live at: https://labor.vermont.gov/unemployment-insurance
- Reference Department of Labor's FAQ's.
- See Financial Assistance section below
CURRENT LABOR LAW: The Vermont Department of Labor (DOL) has issued guidance to staff. "Staff shall not deny claims for able and available issues due to a claimant being isolated or quarantined at the direction of a health care official due to potential or verified exposure to the COVID-19 disease. These individuals shall be treated as temporarily unemployed through no fault of their own, and able and available, for the purpose of UI benefits."
PROPOSED LAW: The Vermont House has passed the bill H.681 that proposes to relieve employers of charges for unemployment benefits paid to an employee for a maximum of four weeks because:
- the employer:
- temporarily closed their business at the request of health officials.
- voluntarily closed their business due to the actual exposure of workers at the business to COVID-19.
- an employee has been directed by a health official to quarantine as a result of COVID-19.
- In order for employers to be relieved of UI charges, the bill does require that the employee be rehired when the business reopens or upon completion of the employee's period of quarantine.
- The bill still needs to be considered by the full Senate before being reviewed by Governor Scott.
New Alphabetized Structure
The Vermont Department of Labor has implemented an alphabetized structure for the intake of weekly claims and inquiries, designating specific days of the week for individuals to contact the Department, based on the first letter of their last name. The structure will take effect on Sunday, April 12, 2020. View the new structure and find out more here.
DOL Virtual Town Hall Meetings
Vermont's DOL has announced dates and topics for on-going employer-focused Virtual Town Hall meetings.
- All town hall meetings will be uploaded to the DOL's YouTube channel.
- Find the full list of meetings and topics on their Virtual Town Hall Calendar.
Pandemic Unemployment Claims (PUC)
Department of Labor to Accept Unemployment Claims from Self-Employed and Others
The Department of Labor has announced that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program (part of the federal CARES Act) is now available to accept unemployment claims from those not eligible for the regular Unemployment Insurance program (self-employed, sole proprietors, independent contractors).
Watch this Vermont Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Demo: A How to fill out the form
Federal Response Bills
4/21/2020 Update: Congress and White House Reach Deal on Interim Funding
The White House and Congress have reached a deal on an additional $482 billion coronavirus relief package. The Senate is expected to pass the bill on 4/21/2020 and Congressman Welch shared with VRGA and other state associations that the House will pass the bill Thursday afternoon, 4/23/2020. President Trump said in a tweet that he supports the agreement and will sign it into law.
PLEASE NOTE: If you were shut out of access to the first round of funding, we strongly encourage members to reach out to your lenders or the Small Business Administration as soon as possible to begin the application process.
- You can search for a eligible lender here.
- Find information about funding and the SBA application from the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Small business Administration.
Here are the highlights of the new bill:
- $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This includes $60 billion reserved for smaller banks that cater to underserved communities. That money will be further divided between banks with less than $10 billion in assets and those with between $10 billion and $50 billion in total assets. The SBA has warned Congress it will take some time to set this up.
- $60 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Grants. This includes $50 billion for straight EIDL loans and $10 billion to restore the [up to] $10,000 emergency small business grants. Note that the SBA rationed distribution of the grants, providing only $1,000 per employee up to $10,000 per applicant.
- $75 billion for hospitals and other healthcare providers. This a stop-gap until more is known about the resource situation, and another, possibly larger cash injection is likely in the next coronavirus bill.
- $25 billion for COVID-19 testing including funds for the development of nationwide and state-by-state testing strategies.
4/16/2020 Update: EIDL & PPP Halted Due To Lapse In Appropriations
The Small Business Administration is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program including EIDL Advances based on available appropriations funding and the SBA is currently unable to accept new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program based on available appropriations funding. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
PLEASE NOTE: The Small Business Administration and the Vermont Bankers Association have reported that if you have received a confirmation number in response to your application for PPP, your application is in the system and your lender has 10 days to close. If you have not received a confirmation number, it is SBA's understanding that you may not have applied in time. If you have questions, please contact your lender or the SBA Vermont Office at 802-828-4422.
To ease your fears about keeping up with payments on your current or potential SBA loan, you may want to review immediate relief to small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans, in particular
- 7(a): Re an affordable loan product of up to $5 million for borrowers who lack credit elsewhere and need access to versatile financing, providing short-term or long-term working capital and to purchase an existing business, refinance current business debt
- 504: Provides loans of up to $5.5 million to approved small businesses with longterm, fixed-rate financing used to acquire fixed assets for expansion or modernization
- Microloans: provides loans up to $50,000 to help small businesses and certain not-for profit childcare centers to start up and expand. The average microloan is about $13,000. These can be applied for through Community Capital of VT.
Where to Apply
- You can apply through the Small Business Development Center or obtain guidance through the organizations listed below.
- Banks in Vermont Offering SBA Loan for PPP Visit this Website and "Click Find a Lender"and enter in your Zip Code to find one near you:
- Key BankCommunity Bank
- People's United Bank
- TD Bank
- Citizen's Bank
- North Country FCU
- Vermont State Empl CU
- Vermont FCU
- Union Bank
- Opportunities CU
You've Received Your PPP Loan: Guidelines to Remember When Utilizing It
If you have successfully received your PPP loan payment, there are some things to keep in mind. You must follow the treasury and SBA guidelines for loan use in order to qualify for loan forgiveness. We urge you to contact your bank as well, to ensure you collect the right documents to present when asking for loan forgiveness.
- You can find information on what the loan can be used for in these treasury documents: PPP FAQ and PPP Fact Sheet.
- Consider this set of guidelines from the SBA as well: SBA Guidelines for Use of the PPP.
Key takeaways: 75% of your loan balance must go to payroll for maximum forgiveness. The remaining 25% can be used for mortgage interest, rent and utilities. These amounts can be applied to payments in the eight weeks following your receipt of the loan. What that means:
- You should use the proceeds from these loans on your:
- Payroll costs, including benefits;
- Interest on mortgage obligations, incurred before February 15, 2020;
- Rent, under lease agreements in force before February 15, 2020; and
- Utilities, for which service began before February 15, 2020.
- Payroll costs include:
- Salary, wages, commissions, or tips (capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each
- Employee benefits including costs for vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave;
allowance for separation or dismissal; payments required for the provisions of group
health care benefits including insurance premiums; and payment of any retirement
- State and local taxes assessed on compensation; and
- For a sole proprietor or independent contractor: wages, commissions, income, or net
earnings from self-employment, capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each
- Salary, wages, commissions, or tips (capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each
PLEASE NOTE: You must keep documents to prove your use of the loan is in accordance with these guidelines if you are going to seek loan forgiveness. We urge you to contact your bank and find out exactly what documents they will want from you down the road.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The comprehensive aid package includes direct payments to Americans, an expansion of unemployment insurance and billions in aid to large and small businesses. We are closely monitoring the passage of this bill and will provide a summary of the final passed bill when it is available. Associate Member Gravel & Shea, a Burlington-based law firm, has provided this explanation on eligibility, terms of loans, and forgiveness opportunities.
Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act: This guidance document will help you determine if you’re eligible, how much you can apply for, and how you can use it.
CARES ACT FAQs: Small Business from Senator Sanders Office also provides significant information.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act included a number of provisions related to paid family/medical leave and paid sick leave, including a tax credit for employers intended to fully cover the cost of leave: The effective date of this legislation is April 1st, 2020. Find out specifics of the leave provided by the bill in this document: Paid Sick Leave/Medical Leave/Family Leave.
Department of Labor recorded a webinar on the FFCRA. Please continue to frequent this web address regularly as the Department will continue to update the compliance assistance information available there.
- Process for Accessing SBA's Disaster Relief Lending - Updated 3/17/20
- Business Income Insurance Information from the Department of Financial Regulation
We are not personally promoting these lenders, we are just compiling the information as it comes in for your benefit. If you are a member of these banks they are offering special loans for people effected by COVID-19. If you have heard of other lending opportunities please reach out to us.
General COVID-19 Updates
The State of Vermont makes web-based form available to help ensure Childcare for essential workers:
- The State, with the help of Let's Grow Kids, has developed a web form to more easily collect information to connect the families of essential workers with childcare in schools and licensed childcare programs that are operating to provide services now through April 6, 2020, while school dismissal and general childcare service closures are in effect.
- Families can also call 2-1-1 ext. 6 or 1-877-705-9008 to speak to a childcare referral specialist.
- Eligible families can complete the form and the State, through the Agency of Education for school-aged children through grade 8, and Child Development Division for younger children, will work to connect essential workers who need childcare with options for their children.
- Essential workers who need help finding childcare should visit this website or call 2-1-1 ext. 6
Childcare programs with questions should call or email the Child Development Division: 800-649-2642 (option 3) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Schools with questions should contact the Agency of Education: 802-828-1130
CDC Mass Gathering Guidance
- Continue to monitor the CDC's Resources for Large Community Events & Mass Gatherings website
- Considerations for Postponing or Cancelling a Mass Gathering - review the CDC's guide here.
VSFA events affected by the COVID-19
If you have further questions on any of the below events, please contact email@example.com.
- Made in Vermont Marketplace, 2020 in South Burlington: Event management has announced that they are postponing this event will reschedule for Fall 2020. They have been in contact with vendors. Please stay tuned for the new date.
- VRGA/VSFA Connect: We have postponed this series of events until further notice.
- VSFA Spring Annual Meeting, Tuesday, June 2 in Chittenden: The VSFA Board and staff has decided to cancel the in-person Spring Annual Meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday, June 2nd at the Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden. We know that many of you value this event for different reasons including member networking. This was not an easy decision, but we feel it is the best one given the current situation. We will miss seeing you all in person, but hope we can offer some alternative programming that you find valuable. Stay tuned for further updates
- 2020 Summer Fancy Food Show, June 28-30 in NYC: We have been in contact with the national Specialty Food Association (SFA) and will stay in touch to monitor their decisions as the Coronavirus situation evolves. Currently SFA is moving forward with their scheduled event. They have created a Coronavirus information page on their website which they will be updating as things develop. VSFA understands the uncertainty in signing up for this show based on the current crisis and the unknown of receiving refunds in the event that they do cancel the show. At this time VSFA is not recruiting booths for the Vermont Pavilion. Please reach out to Alex Jakab for further questions.
Farmers’ Markets may re-open May 1st, using limited in-person operations to ensure consumer access to quality, healthy food. VAAFM has issued these guidelines, “intended to help farmers markets’ serve communities and provide direct access to healthy, nutritious foods, while also supporting local farmers and food businesses. Farmers markets must follow the guidance.”
This guidance includes: outdoor markets only, wearing of face masks by vendors, food only vendors, social distancing of vendors and customers, no congregating of customers, no entertainment.
Find the FAQ here to clarify the new COVID-19 Farmers Market Guidance
Guidance released on April 10 regarding farmers markets remains in effect at this time.
Farmers Markets are still considered non-essential and VSFA is closely monitoring developments.
- VT Farm to Plate has compiled a collection of resources to support businesses during COVID-19. This list includes funding/insurance, mentoring/matchmaking, food safety, technical assistance, and more.
- UVM Extensions New Farmers Project - Here is a list of COVID-19 Information for Farmers and Food Producers
- VtSBDC Financial Resiliency Resources - The Vermont Small Business Development Center has developed new guidance for businesses as they manage the financial impact of COVID-19.
- Business Lending 501 highlights the SBA funding opportunities available now as well as Vermont-specific resources. It includes guidance on the SBA application process and a checklist of financial documents needed to apply.
- The Self-Guided Assessment: Business Cash Flow tool helps businesses assess current cash flow, profit and loss, debt service, and expenses to give a fuller understanding of how loans might impact cash flow.
- Virtual & Online Services Available from Food Export. They offer export education and market development services that can be done online and do not involve travel including: Virtual Consultation, Lead Qualification Market Research, and more.
- Venture 7 Advisors - shares a blog post on Protecting your company in a crisis: “No one knows how long this health crisis and its economic aftermath will last. The speed and scale of these developments is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. The speed and scale of your business response should be commensurate.” Venture 7 Advisors offer some time sensitive business survival recommendations to implement now.
- In her recent Food Biz Wiz™Podcast, retail expert Allison Ball of Allison Ball Consulting discusses the state of the CPG industry and how producers can respond and adapt to change during the COVID-10 Crisis. Listen to Episode 35: Adapting to Change: How to Move Forward in CPG.
- Molly Goodyear of 802Social prepared an introduction to, and tips on how to utilize, Facebook and Instagram for your business as you respond to this pandemic. Find her guide here on the VRGA website, and join us for a webinar on social media basics for business on April 29th at 2pm.
- The national Specialty Food Association is providing a series of webinars for the specialty food industry related to COVID-19. These webinars are free to the public - Guests may need to create a username and password in order to add webinars to cart, but you do not need to be a member to do so. Once you add webinar to cart, an access link will become available on the webpage for download. Find and access the list of webinars available here.
- Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) has created a 72-page Disaster Recovery Guide and workbook containing all the steps needed post-disaster to create the most successful and sustainable outcome for Vermont’s businesses.
Online Business Directories:
Vermonters are banding together to provide business directories for consumers. Check out the below options for listing your business and offerings.
- Made in Vermont Marketplace - While the 2020 Made in Vermont Marketplace has been postponed to this Fall, they have launched a Virtual Marketplace, a streamlined platform for exhibitors to link their website for online ordering, content, and more for consumers to browse and buy exhibitor products prior to their Fall event.
- Love Vermont -This is a new online directory of Vermont businesses who may be offering online gift certificates, but can also be supported through take-out meals, online shopping options, and/or other simple support options. They hope this resource will help mobilize loyal customers looking to provide much-needed support to their favorite local businesses. Sign up here.
- VT Department of Tourism - has created a Virtual Vermont section on their website and are looking for additional content! Think virtual tours, livestream animal cams, recipes using made in Vermont products, or any other unique way you are engaging with your customers online. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if have any content that you would like to submit for consideration.
VT Mentor programs and services
- One-to-one Free Consultations for Farm and Forest Businesses - If your farm or forest business is under pressure due to COVID-19 disruptions, UVM Extension Ag Business Program educators are available for coaching and can assist with locating resources."We can help with critical business decision-making, assessing changes to markets, financial planning and other issues facing your enterprises," says Ag Business Specialist Mark Cannella. Email email@example.com to get started, or use this listing to connect directly with one of the educators whose focus matches your priorities.
- Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC) - Their Manufacturing Advisors are available for free remote crisis response consultations. Some specific and immediate services VMEC can provide include Support and Problem Solving, Supply Chain, Re-deployment of Resources and/or Re-Tooling and Manufacturer Connections (MXVT.org) and much more; visit their COVID-19 Resource page or contact at (802) 728-1432 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
VMEC Live Forums - Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center has been hosting live forums focused on resources and learning to safely restart operations as effectively and efficiently as possible. VMEC’s previous COVID-19 Forums include: Reopening Plans (May 1), Safety and Training Plans (May 6), Return to Work Scenarios (May 13). Find their recorded sessions here: MXVT.org.
- SCORE VT - Support and mentoring are fully available remotely via video, phone, and email. Right now SCORE Mentors are tackling the triage processes for both HR-related business functions and finance/cash flow-related functions. They have 2 separate teams available to provide mentoring assistance for those situations. The rest of their volunteer base will handle the non-emergency mentoring clients and cases. If you don't already have a SCORE mentor, click here or call the office at 802-764-5899 to request one.
- Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) - Their team of experienced advisors are located throughout the state and are ready to assist you. Advising is confidential and provided at no-cost. To get started, find your Area Business Advisor.
UVM Extension online webinars and resources
- Food Safety for Food Processors Podcasts: Interviews with Vermont food manufacturers capturing their response to the impact of COVID-19 on their companies. These companies share some practices they've implemented to adjust to these unique circumstances and keep manufacturing companies open. They've spoken to VSFA members Fat Toad Farm, Hidden Springs Maple, Slopeside Syrup, Bove's of Vermont, and Lake Champlain Chocolates.
- The Center for Sustainable Agriculture: Provides an Online Conversation Series: Sourcing & Selling Vermont Food in the Time of COVID-19. Find past and current webinars on Direct Sales, eCommerce & Agritourism for Vermont Farms, Getting Started with Online Sales, and more.
Webinar: How to Stay Growth-Oriented and Resilient in Your Retail, Grocery, or Specialty Foods Business
This interactive online workshop will give you strategic tools, perspectives, and support to sustain and grow your business during the COVID-19 crisis and come out strong as the crisis passes. We will avoid getting stuck in the whirlwind of fear and uncertainty and instead help you create a focused, doable action plan based squarely on what you have proactive control over that will give your business an edge for growth and on-going resiliency.
Webinar: Social Media 101: The Basics of Facebook and Instagram for Business
Molly Goodyear, founder of 802Social, leads this session focused on the basics of instagram and facebook for businesses. From best practices for account setup to post examples, general trends, and more, this session will provide what you need to get your accounts up and running!
Webinar: What You Need to Know About COVID-19
VSFA and VRGA collaborated with UVM Extension to present some basic information about the virus (SARS-CoV-2), the disease (COVID-19), and additional online resources. We respond to some of the questions we have received about COVID-19 in the context of the daily activities of food manufacturer/food handlers.
UVM Extension's Food Safety for Food Processors Podcasts has interviewed Vermont food manufacturers to capture their response to the impact of COVID-19 on their companies, share some practices to adjust to these unique circumstances and keep manufacturing companies open. They've spoken to VSFA members Fat Toad Farm, Hidden Springs Maple, Slopeside Syrup, Bove's of Vermont, and Lake Champlain Chocolates.
Webinar: Doing Business in these Uncertain Times
Presented by Paul Frank + Collins P.C. on 3/25, VSFA and VRGA members joined Senior Partners Karen Stackpole, Kris Brines, Chris Leff, Shane McCormack, and Bob DiPalma from Paul Frank + Collins for a live webinar to discuss employment issues, financing issues, contact problems and related questions that may arise as this pandemic continues to evolve. Download the slide presentation.
Webinar: Business Planning in Uncertain Times
The business world has changed radically in recent months and more change is coming. Business owners need to make tough decisions to survive and, ultimately, to adapt their business models to the new reality that emerges. There are great risks, but also great opportunities for the businesses that navigate the next several months successfully.
Bryan Ducharme of Venture 7 Advisors presents three different analytical tools that any business owner can use to make data-driven decisions at a time when emotions are running high and business outlooks are changing on a daily basis. He reviews each model in detail discussing its purpose, its strengths and limitations. Download the slide presentation.
Webinar: Getting started with virtual retail in the Covid19 era
With the closure of businesses nationwide, the ability to sell product direct to consumer online is more important than ever. Jacob Dubois, founder of Burlington based UpTown Cow, leads this session on virtual retail platforms. Uptown Cow is a full service e-commerce management company that works with clients to grow their online sales.
Jacob covers how to get started with online selling platforms, plugins, photography tips, and more. You'll leave the session with a solid understanding of how to get your e-commerce program up and running.
Setting Up Shop Online
We understand that many businesses are shifting their focus to market and sell their products online in the wake of COVID-19. We have compiled a few resources that you may want to consid to help navigate that world.
1. How to set up an online platform: Uptown Cow has a comprehensive, easy to follow guide on how to set up an online platform. They also put together a Growth Guide for retailers that already have platforms.
2. Online Shipping Fulfillment: AGH Fulfillment and A Slice of Vermont can bring in specialty food vendors as long as their products are shelf stable without refrigeration. They can help you start selling through A Slice of Vermont or just do fulfillment for you if you are selling on your own website. AGH will offer free storage up to 1 pallet or equivalent for VSFA members. They'll work with you even if you only need a short term help during the shut down while your employees may be forced to stay at home.
Here is a brief outline. You can use one or both of their services:
- A Slice of Vermont
- Free storage (8 sqft shelf)
- Free product photos (if necessary)
- Free online store page (and a page to track their inventory in real time)
- We collect 25% when their products are sold. We pay the shipping, CC processing, etc. The vendors will get a full 75% of the price they sell on our site
- AGH Fulfillment
- Free storage up to 1 pallet for VSFA members or $30 per pallet for non-members
- $2.50 per order + $0.25 per item
- Use our shipping account to save on shipping
- No long term contract
3. Online Wholesale Platform: Mable is a wholesale platform to help retailers, brands and distributors do business together. Mable's mission is to make it easier for retailers to stock & restock shelves, easier for brands to reach more retailers cost effectively, and easier for distributors to offer a simple ordering solution for their customers. Mable is a great way to get discovered by new retailers.
- Mable is free for your existing accounts. And they only charge a flat 10% commission on orders from NEW retailers they bring you. Check it out: https://meetmable.com/pages/start-selling
- View this infographic on how it works.
- If you are interested, here is a link to getting started: Mable Onboarding
- Feel free to reach out with any questions to Kristin who works with all their brands.
Other Shipping Services
1. Unishippers of Burlington, VT is a locally owned and operated association of over 300,000 individual companies, nationwide, who have combined their shipping needs to qualify for the deep discounts that very large corporate accounts qualify for. Unishippers is a full service shipping company offering custom, reduced rate, shipping options. They offer a large selection of proven and reliable carriers like UPS for your small packages and over 35 freight carriers for heavier freight. As professional shipping consultants, Unishippers creates completely individualized shipping solutions for our customers.
- Please note: Unishippers is offering discounted rates to VRGA or VSFA member.
- View their Company Brochure and this UPS Express & Ground Services document for further information.
- To learn more visit unishippers.com or contact Len Rubin at 802-862-4889 or email len.rubin@Unishippers.com.
What VRGA is asking your Government Officials
VSFA Members are Associate Members of Vermont Retail & Grocers Association. VRGA has been in touch with many state officials asking questions on your behalf, once the question has been answered it will be on VRGA's FAQ Page. Our Team is working around the clock to make sure we have up-to-date information for you.
Here are some of the requests, press releases, and questions we are bringing to the conversation with your state officials:
- Check out VRGA's FAQ Page on questions already answered.
- VRGA's Letter to the Director of Vermont Emergency Management on suggestions on which businesses should be deemed Essential vs Non-Essential.
- See VRGA President Erin on WCAX on March 22nd with Vt. Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts discussing the impact of the coronavirus on the state's dairy industry and food systems; Erin discussed assistance available to help small businesses and the challenges grocers are having keeping the shelves stocked.
- Interview with VRGA President Erin Sigrist and Peter 'Fish' Case from Great Eastern Radio
What Our Members Are Doing: Be Creative. Be Safe.
Many of our members have tried to come up with ways to provide the goods people need while limiting their exposure to COVID-19.
Short Term: Focusing on online or phone sales, Curbside Pickup, Limiting Store Hours if they have a retail shop still open, Contacting larger grocery stores to keep your product in stock, Adjusting production hours to avoid contact between employees, Free Local Delivery (PLEASE CALL YOUR INSURANCE AGENCY TO LET THEM KNOW - most insurance companies are being good allowing this right now BUT you should definitely call your agent and let them know you are doing this as it may require some extra coverage).
Long Term: Talking with your banks, learning about Small Business Loans, Cancelling events, Focusing on Online sales if possible.
Seven Days reports that Fat Toad Farm is sewing masks as part of Vermont Glove's new effort to enlist home sewers to help produce protective masks.
Bon Appetite Magazine featured Vermont Tortilla in their "Where to Order Your Favorite Pantry Staples Online" list.
Untapped Maple has implemented a local retail support program to their online shopping platform.
Support Local Business - Where your product is being sold
Support Locally Owned Stores - We have assembled a list of businesses in the state providing shopping hours for vulnerable members of the community, curbside pickup, delivery and other services in response to COVID-19. Please check this list for a store near you. If your product is being sold in one of these stores, please try to highlight that on your social media or website to promote folks to shop there.
Larger Scale Vermont Support - We wanted to share what Vermont Downtown Districts are doing in the midst of COVID-19 reaching Vermont. Here, you will find a list of the Downtown Districts of Vermont. On their web pages you'll be able to see what stores are temporarily closed, what stores have remained open, and most importantly, how you can help!