Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Manufacturing in Vermont- Team Finland in New England, Day 3

Today's theme emerged by accident (a bit) as we headed north from Springfield into the Green Mountain State.  And it is GREEN. So beautiful.

I knew that Vermont means "Green Mountain" but wasn't so familiar with all of the French influence (it says "Bienvenue" on the welcome sign to the state). Once we looked it up on Wikipedia, it made sense. Apparently, 900,000 Quebecois migrated to the state in the early 1900s and 10% of the state still speaks French!

Our first stop was in Waterbury, CT at the Green Mountain Coffee Visitor's Center.  Bottom line...skip it. One panel about how they get their coffee and then a cafe.  I did get a free cup of coffee, but honestly not enough to make me a brand fanatic.

Stop #2 was Ben and Jerry's. While we were disappointed that the assembly line wasn't working while we were there, the introductory movie did a great job of telling the story of the brand and their commitment to social causes. The kids got to see the assembly line and, of course, the free sample at the end.

It was fun to see all the license plates and international travelers (Swedes, Israelis, Malaysians, and more) there. Gives you a sense of how much of an impact they have had.

Then, we headed to Shelburne, Vermont where we had a tour of the Vermont Teddy Bear factory. Our guide (Pam) was great and it was impressive to see not only their commitment to quality (a lifetime guarantee), but the fact that so much is still done by hand. I couldn't decide if that was good or not, but it did show an appreciation of craftsmanship and enhance the overall brand story as well.

We ended the day in Red Rocks Park on the shore of Lake Champlain which is absolutely gorgeous and where I did a critical paternal task...taught my daughters how to skip rocks.

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