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January 23, 2008 [63]

Dealer111/18/08: Ping pong, lattes, plants, OH MY! is a VT company that recently expanded into plush new digs and is hiring a young, technically savvy workforce.   

There has been lots of talk lately about young people leaving Vermont in search of better paid, high tech jobs - does offer a ray of hope?

Walking into their massive colorful new space, it is hard to believe that you are in VT: 65,000 square feet of wide open workspace, an organic cafe on site to fuel its workers, a gym with HDTVs, a blue and lavender tennis court, a ping pong table, basketball court, bean bag chairs and an abundance of plants. 

The primarily young workforce is expanding and many of them are Vermonters, some of whom got their feet in the door through ITAR, Vermont IT Apprenticeship Readiness Program.

Makes you wonder if VT is slowly catching up to the technological boom as our high speed internet connection gets stronger.  Perhaps VT is still in the game after all.

Music by Pretty & Nice off their Pink & Blue album, "Busy Bees."

Watch the video on YouTube here.

Our new video feature, The Campus Question asks St Mike's students what it would take to keep them in VT after graduation.


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liza cowan looks like a terrific place to work, and I'm so happy that they are bringing good, ethical, ecologically sound jobs to Burlington and increasing our tax base to boot. The building is beautiful and a welcome addition to Burlington's South End.

Here's my question. How are the company and its employees adding to the life of the neighborhood? With a restaurant, barristas, fitness center all included, does the company and it's employees contribute to the livliness and well being of the local economy? Is there any actual interaction with the the shops and cafes, with the people who live and work close by or with public social life?

Casual observation tell me - not so much. I work next door to, and while I am so pleased with the visual impact on the neighborhood, and I am very happy to have another large and wonderful local employer (Lake Champlain Chocolates being another) I don't get a feeling of community interaction. It doesn't seem to have been a priority when the plans were being drawn up. It just seems cut off, a little neighborhood unto itself, and that's too bad for everyone.

Lake Champlain Chocolates has a public cafe. While I certainly don't expect a Car Bar - what would they sell? - I wonder if there's a way that the borders between and the rest of the neighborhood could be a bit more permeable.

Otherwise, great addition to Vermont, Burlington and the South End. And great story, once again, Eva.

cheers. Liza Cowan, Pine Street Art Works



Thanks very much for your response. You pose a very interesting question.

When walking around, I was reminded of the plush Pixar facilities in Emeryville, California. Pixar is a HUGE complex with its own post office, restaurant, cafe, gym, screening rooms, volley ball courts, gardens and hundreds of employees. You have to pass a high level security check point to enter and it is a little city quite shut off from the rest of the town.

That said, many of the employees do venture out for lunches and breaks [even though Pixar has fenced in outdoor space as well]. Also, many employees have bought spaces or rent in the area to be closer to work. But I wonder if the rest of the community feels shut out from this La La Land.

These sort of spaces are so new to VT, perhaps we will find some way to integrate them into our communities as well. The question being, how?


PS Here is an article talking about Pixar and their community:

PPS Here are some pics of Pixar that make me drool with envy:

Mark Bonfigli

Thank you for the feedback and kind words.

As you may know, as been on Pine Street for 10 years (we were across the street at the Maltex bldg) and our staff has supported local shops and stores for that entire time. We still continue to support them all with our business every day. Our people probably spend more on the local cafe's and shops than any other business in the area!
Our inside cafe is a small friendly establishment that is there to help with the convenience for our people since many work very tight schedules and also want all organic foods. Being born and raised in Burlington I am very excited to be able to offer this to the residents that work at Our facility in no way could handle the public but maybe someday with help from the city or state we could create an "internet cafe" type facility where children could learn about the internet or where special events could be held for the community.

Part of the way that participates the community is through a multitude of social events, charity events and recreational events as well as though our actions. We support the local art hop, sponsor the Jeff Stone Memorial Tennis Tournament that raises money for the Stern Center for Learning, participate in the children's parade and Mardi Gras parade and field soccer and softball teams in local leagues. Also our building is a Leed certified "green" building so we are more earth friendly than the typical business. As we grow we will continue to get more and more involved with events and the community we love so much.

Additionally has gone great lengths to create jobs for underemployed or unemployed residents by training them and working with local non profits and the State of VT to make it a reality. Over 40 high paying jobs have been created using this method at a time when no other businesses are doing it in the area. This takes a big investment from all parties involved and yields more that just money being spent in the community but rather productive, happy and successful residents in the area.

One of the most difficult challenges with being a hi-tech company is that of security and privacy. Our company has so much proprietary information to protect and our security is state of the art because of that. That also makes it hard for us to invite the public in.

I hope that this response answered your questions.

Please let me know if you have any more.

Warmest regards

Mark Bonfigli
President, CEO, Inc

liza cowan

Thanks for the answer, Mark, and thanks for being such a good neighbor in so many ways.


You have to wonder though - Do they offer all those things so the people will work 20 hours a day?



I would have to say that the company did not create such a wonderful work space with a cafe/gym/tennis court so the employees would not ever have to leave, but more because they wanted to reward the employees for their hard work.

I am an employee of with baby at home and I promise you I am not working 20 hours a day. Although we may sometimes stay later or come in earlier, it is because we are dedicated to the success of and enjoy seeing the growth of the company through our hard work. Working at had never compromised my relationship with my family and has, in fact, improved it. I can tell you that it is absolutely rewarding to work for and every day I feel lucky to come in and work for this company, even before we had the new building.

I know gave us a such a great space to work in because the company, as a whole, deserved it, and they are continually concerned with the well being of their employees.

I truly thought I would have to leave the state of Vermont, where I was born and raised, to find a job like this. has provided a great oppurtunity for me without having to move from the state I love so much.

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We place as much importance on our team as we do our clients. We pride ourselves in working hard, working smart, and being the most technically advanced and innovative company in online automotive. None of that can be done without employees that thrive on being at work. Our culture attracts and encourages motivated people that want to make a difference in the industry and the world around them.

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LEED Certified headquarters in Burlington, VT features an organic café, on-site fitness center, basketball and tennis facilities, an extensive employee wellness program, ½-price season passes to Stowe or Bolton, and a casual dress code. Enjoy a full benefits package with excellent 401k, medical & dental.


I am not sure how the support of car culture adds anything to Pine Street, or Vermont.

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