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VSFA Virtual Spring Meeting

The VSFA Board and staff has decided to cancel our in-person Spring Annual Meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday, June 2nd at the Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden. We hope you will join us instead for our Virtual Spring Meeting on Wednesday, June 3rd.

VSFA Virtual Spring Meeting

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
1:00pm to 3:00pm

FREE to VSFA and VRGA Members
$10 Non-Member

Register here

Join us for our Virtual Spring Meeting on Wednesday, June 3rd from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. This 2-hour event will feature two informative presentations focused on business resiliency, strategy, and adaptation for Vermont’s specialty food & beverage producers and supporting industries making their way through the current crisis.

Each June the VSFA community comes together for a daylong networking and business education event, a valued opportunity for members to connect with each other while learning ways to sustain, grow, and manage their business. These resources are needed now more than ever. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, VSFA is pivoting this year’s meeting to a virtual event in order to continue strengthening and supporting our community during these challenging times.

Event Schedule:
1:00pm - Welcome & Opening Remarks
1:10pm - Session 1: Business Planning for the Unknown
2:00pm - Session 2: The Future of Wholesale
3:00pm - Closing remarks

Session Descriptions:
Session 1: Business Planning for the Unknown
Presented by Lawrence Miller, Principal, Five Vine Consulting
In the current business environment contingency planning is more important than ever.  The only thing we know is that nothing will go “back to normal” any time soon, likely measured in years, not months, and some things will change forever.  In times of crisis contingency planning must have a dual focus on mitigating risks and maximizing opportunities when they appear.  This session will include a discussion of public health policy considerations in the pandemic and how changes in the public health situation could impact business operations and opportunities to help you identify what leading indicators you need to consider.  It will also include a discussion of specific tools to help you think about how you want your business and your life to be different on the other side, and how to monitor risks and opportunities to have your best shot at realizing your evolving personal and professional vision.

Session 2: The Future of Wholesale
Presented by Allison Ball, Founder, Allison Ball Consulting
2020 has been a whirlwind for the food industry, and we are just starting to see the first glimpse of things settling a bit. What will be the "new normal" for our industry after we get through the repercussions of COVID-19? What does the future of wholesale look like, and how has the coronavirus shifted the way we'll do business? Join wholesale consultant, Allison Ball, as she shares how our industry has reacted and the silver-linings from this trying time, how to shift your strategy for the future, and how to move your business forward this year - even if your plans have been thrown out the window.

Event Speakers:

Lawrence Miller has been involved in specialty food and beverage for his entire career. He was the founder of Otter Creek Brewing, which started as a single-person draft-only project in 1989. From January 2011 until early 2014 he was Vermont Secretary of Commerce and Community Development, and from then until the end of 2016 Chief of Health Care Reform. From early 2017 until the onset of COVID-19 he was primarily consulting for states on health care reform strategy and practice, along with small business clients in Vermont. For the last several months he has turned to combining his crisis management experience from Irene and the Exchange with his business experience to help businesses and organizations adapt to the rapidly evolving conditions. In addition to his direct clients, he works with the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, the Flexible Capital Fund, and Let’s Grow Kids to support their constituent businesses.

Alli Ball is a former Grocery Buyer turned Wholesale Consultant, and the creator of Retail Ready™, an online course for producers of packaged product in the food industry. Alli has helped hundreds of emerging brands understand what it takes to get their products on the retail shelf- and keep them there- by sharing the behind-the-scenes secrets and thought process of wholesale Buyers as they assess new products for their stores or online marketplace. Find her on her website here, weekly on Food Biz Wiz™, her podcast about wholesale strategy, or use her advice daily with her physical planner, specifically made for the packaged food industry.

Thank you to our Event Sponsors!