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May 18, 2010

BTV Welcome Wagon Rolls Into Terry Bikes

Welcome_wagon Press conferences tend to be boring, sit-down affairs where stuffed suits natter on about things most of us care nothing about. Generally, the presser's host doesn't even have the sense to offer free food to the three reporters in attendance.

But that wasn't true Tuesday when Terry Precision Bicycles hosted a little gathering at its swank new digs inside Maple Street design shop JDK. Well, Terry didn't exactly throw the event for themselves. The city, repped by Mayor Bob Kiss, Jon Adams-Kollitz of CEDO and others, put on the little shindig, complete with homemade carrot cupcakes and a little bike ride, to welcome the company to town.

In late 2009, Liz Robert, former CEO of Vermont Teddy Bear Company, bought the Rochester, N.Y., cycling company and moved it to Burlington. Read more about that here. Since then, the women-specific company has been revamping its image and its inventory. It hired super-rad designers JDK to work on soft-goods design, and company founder Georgena Terry is putting more time into bike design.

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Put butt here.

During the press conference/welcome wagon Mayor Kiss read a proclamation proclaiming May 18 to be Terry Precision Bicycles Day in Burlington. Funny. They didn't do that when I moved to town. The welcome train also featured the requisite speechifying to the 30-odd Burlington cyclerati who showed up to see what Terry was all about.  Here are the highlights:

"We've worked hard in Burlington to get businesses to choose Burlington. There has been a long line of business owners choosing Burlington ... Liz, thanks for being here." Mayor Bob Kiss

"I'm overwhelmed by how many people are here. There is such an incredible level of creative energy in Burlington ... It's a great place to build a purposeful brand ... This is really something that's about mission as much as it's about anything ... We want the opportunity to be the poster child, to bring great business, great brands to Burlington." Liz Robert, owner and CEO of Terry Precision Bicycles  

"The thing Liz represents for the entire community is the quality of life in Burlington and part of that quality of life is access to the outdoors." Kelly Devine, executive director of the Burlington Business Association

"Outdoor recreation means dollars to our community ... Vermont has grown a number of wonderful businesses." Chapin Spencer, executive director of Local Motion

After everyone welcomed Terry to town, the crew from the press conference — bike builders and racers, cycling advocates and shop owners, general outdoorsy folk, people wearing full Spandex cycling kits — hopped on their bikes and headed for a gigantic group ride to Terry's South End warehouse. Everyone followed the rules of the road and everyone wore their helmets, except bike mechanic Matt Colby, who could be excused because he was riding a tall bike, and a helmet would ruin his steez.

From the warehouse, the group pedaled and schmoozed back to the company's offices for a lunch of wraps, lemonade and the aforementioned cupcakes. Every other press conference, take note: Cycling and free food make everything better. 

Yeah, sure, Mr. Mayor. General Dynamics, Burton, Gallagher Flynn, etc., and all of their hundreds of employees, thank you from the bottom of their hearts for the keen interest you've shown in keeping businesses in Burlington.

You freakin clown.

So their offices are *inside* JDK's offices? Are they just an incredibly tiny company, or did JDK suddenly find themselves with some extra space for some reason (or both)?

I'm glad that Terry chose Burlington and I wish her well and think she's pretty bright. However, watching Bob Kiss do anything at this point only reminds me how pathetic it is to have him as our mayor. This city needs to shed that particular burden. It can't happen soon enough.

Is this journalism or is this advertising?

Dear Jay,

I'm pretty sure this post constitutes neither journalism nor advertising. Rather, it's blogging. About an event. That happened in the city. That's all.

I wonder what kind of message it sends that BTV will declare a "day" for a company of 13 employees (down from December), that moved here because its CEO already lived here, and whose employees that did move publicly badmouthed BTV's cost of living. It's not like anyone convinced the company to move here.

Kiss got lucky. It's not like he or his administration or anything they did "brought" this (very small) company to Burlington. It landed in his lap. So what does he do? Throw a parade.

Hey, you clown: howabout you actively go out and GET businesses and bring them to Burlington? Or, howabout at least you actively make a plan not to drive any remaining existing businesses out of Burlington? Howabout you do something to make it less likely that companies like Burton, GD, Gallagher Flynn, etc., will choose to live elsewhere?

Howabout you act like a mayor?

oy, $3200 for their 'low end' bike? I don't think I'll be seeing too many of these on the roads in town anytime soon...

The fact remains that of anyplace in Vermont Burlington is adding jobs. This is a fact despite the worst economy since the depression. Whine and spit about the mayor all you want but he's doing a good job. If this company had chosen Plattsburg you'd all be blaming Kiss. But they chose Burlington and still you dump on him.

They "chose" Burlington because the CEO already lived in Charlotte and the only decent design shop in the county is in Burlington, fake Jimmy. The mayor had absolutely nothing to do with it. The handful of employees that were forced to come here from Rochester griped about it. If a 13 employee company had chosen "Plattsburg" (sic) then no one would have noticed.

"The fact remains that of anyplace in Vermont Burlington is adding jobs."

No, you moron, it's losing jobs. Jobs (and tax revenue) it didn't have to lose. And it's not losing them to other states or countries, it's losing them to surrounding communities. GD and Gallagher Flynn come readily to mind. When GD announced its move last year, it said that no one from the Mayor's office had ever communicated with them since Kiss took office in 2006.

Imagine that: in three years of supposedly running this city, no one from the mayor's office had ever spoken to Burlington's largest employer. Apparently not even to say, "Hi, how are things at GD?"

Kiss has time to go to a "sustainability conference" in Vancouver (curiously, just at the same time the Olympics were there) while BT was burning to the ground, but in three years he couldn't have found the time to pick up the phone and make plans to chat with Burlington largest employer?

Could he have persuaded them not to move out of town? Maybe. Or maybe not. He'll never know.

Clown.

Ya think Bernie would have ignored GD and GF and let them move out of town?

Hey Bozo I don't blame GD for leaving. 1st year rent free and then 1/3 of what they are paying now after that.
Does the word Firesale mean anything to you!

Maybe Burlington couldn't have prevented the GD move. Or maybe it could have. But we'll never know, since the Kiss Non-Administration never, ever talked to them. About anything.

Kiss never refuted the allegation that not once in his tenure did he or anyone in his administration ever make contact with GD. The biggest employer in the city.

My god.

You can't compete against an offer you don't even know about. And you can't persuade a business to stay if it feels you don't care about them or even know they exist.

Guy's a total clown.

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