Localvore Today’s Impact on the Local Economy

LocalvoreToday logo 4.jpg

As the Spring semester comes to a close and my academic career at Champlain College does as well, I have began to flourish by narrowing down my passions for my post-academic pursuits. The very thought of working within the local food and beverage industry of Vermont has granted me with intense excitement. I’m the guy at the co-op reading the labels and ingredients to find out as much as possible about certain companies and the goods that they provide and then comparing these goods to their competitors.

localvore index

I love keeping my consumer habits local and I am extremely passionate about how the local Burlington start-up Localvore Today has the exact same mission as my individual goals. I think there is an endless amount of opportunities in a state like Vermont, where local communities always come first when it comes to the food/beverage industry.

Localvore Today is the tool for local businesses to tell their story and can act as an e-commerce resource to promote environmental sustainability and socially responsible business practices within the state of Vermont. I especially admire how CEO, Dan White, in a sense re-invented the lightbulb with his entrepreneurial idea of a localized Groupon website. I hold a high respect for Dan because he decided to start working for Groupon as an account executive in order to promote his idea and learn about the business model of Groupon in order to have the background to succeed wit the implementation of  his localized Groupon concept in which he could incorporate his own personal social mission on a daily basis.

localvore today logo 2

Localvore Today does a tremendous job of connecting local businesses to the consumers who hold them in high regards. Dan’s formalization and execution of his idea in Vermont is simply genius. Dan was held to a non-compete clause after he left Groupon, but Groupon at the time did not operate in the state of Vermont, and at the start of 2012 when Dan started the company he was one hundred compliant with his non-compete clause. Dan’s goal is to give back to the area in which we are living in, and give incentive for other local businesses to do the same.

dan white localvore today in action

Every company that Localvore Today works with is independently ran and do not possess a corporate or national headquarters located outside of Vermont. In a state like Vermont that is riddled with a significant state trade deficit it is so important to maintain local business growth and to promote the consumerism of local goods and services which Localvore Today has excelled at doing time after time during the last 4 years of operation at their Lake St. location nestled right against Burlington’s revitalized harbor. (thank you Bernie Sanders, who was mayor at the time and advocated for a waterfront to be proud of)

dan white localvore image

Dan has created a way through the conception of Localvore Today for more local Vermont businesses to strive to meet B-corporation standards. Groupon may be a somewhat valuable resources to many, but Groupon is no Localvore Today because Localvore Today has the ability to connect nonprofit organizations that hold similar passions and perspectives with the local businesses of Vermont, so that consumers can connect easier to local merchants through e-commerce and digital marketing. Localvore Today uses GoogleMaps to show the user where each local merchant is located, and describes each merchant in detail on the Localvore website, so that the consumer can get a better sense of how the local merchant fits into the local community and how they impact the local economy of Vermont.


localvore today logo.jpg

Today there are approximately over 20,000 subscribers on the e-mail lists for daily deals of Localvore Today. The anti-Groupon site receives a share of each sale, but refrains from charging local merchants out of pocket for their services. The Localvore Today concept works so well in a state like Vermont because many businesses despise discounting or using pedestrian digital content to describe the maturation of their business. Localvore Today provides digital marketing content solutions for a community centric marketing approach, and as a result can boost the dollars spent on local goods and services in the local Vermont economy.


Also check out this new app I have been using called Buycott. It allows you to support causes relating to consumerism, and allows you to scan food products that have bar codes to tell you if the supply chain or manufacturing process is using sustainable and socially responsible business practices.


Be Different Or Don’t Bother


ken millman.jpg
Founder of Spike Advertising Inc. Ken Millman

“Be different or don’t bother”-Ken Millman

Ken Milman a man of all trades in the marketing profession. He currently is the founder of Spike Advertising Inc. which is an advertising agency based out of Burlington, VT. Ken is the only employee at his company currently and at once he had 15 employees working underneath him. Ken is a type of guy that wants to shake up the pot and he truly embraces this type of change. Ken stated that he has about a three year life span on anything he does, and because he is always trying to find ways to change as an individual and an organization for the better. Ken looked at the data and found out that 80% of the time with a full staff he was simply doing work to run the business, but Ken honestly just wanted to work with clients 100% of the time, so Ken decided to go lean and strip down to the one man team of Ken Millman after over 15 years of Ken running Spike Advertising. Ken also has worked for medium-sized companies before Spike in San Francisco, Reno, and Ottawa. Ken attended Carleton University located in capital of the Quebec province in Ottawa, Canada and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications & Law. Ken participates in marketing strategy, creative, writing, producing, and project management for Spike Advertising. Ken also leads workshops on self-branding and has taught Marketing at Champlain College.

spike ad logo.png

Ken expressed to the class that advertising is a particularly interesting industry to observe trends because some aspects of advertising have change zero percent since the dot com boom, whereas in other ways advertising has changed monumentally. Ken told our class that in order to stay relevant in the advertising world, an organization needs to focus on developing content that is full of diversity. Ken made a point to also tell the class that technology is on an upward projection and that the pace of technology has completely changed the last few years with the rise of the social media platform phenomena and this has created mass confusion for lots of professionals working in the marketing and advertising field that have not adapted with the pace of technology.


In order to stand out to an employee Ken suggested that if you can focus on the things that have never changed in advertising ranging from concept design, concept plans, good writing, smart thinking, and being able to speak to the right audience are what could really make you indispensable to a company when you jump aboard the employment train. I love how Ken brought up to the class that he thinks nowadays there is new breed of marketing and advertising professionals who are master-bating with all this data, but is it really accomplishing anything with the usage of all of these new analytics and metrics? I thought he brought up a valid point of emphasizing on how being creative in strategy is the most important first step when working in the advertising and marketing industry.

creativity info.jpg

I was really fond of Ken’s perspective on how he makes sense of the relationships with his clients, and a quote that really stuck with me was when he stated that, “The day you start getting the account, is the day you also lose the account”, Ken is explaining that no client relationship is easy and that eventually all good things may come to an end, but it helps to diversify the types of client relationships that you do have. I also really enjoyed how Ken made a point to emphasize how important soft skills are from the first interview to your first day starting your new career. Ken also stated that no way will artificial intelligence in our lifetimes trump the soft skills that we possess. Employers will always need employees that can listen, follow up, do favors, and being able to fix things when they go to shit. These soft skills will grab the attention from employers as a rookie and this is huge if you are just starting a new job. Never let your soft skills get hidden behind the resumes and cover letters and anything you can do to be more authentic and treat yourself like a brand will do wonders for your career in the long-run.

soft skills.png

Marketing is truly about relationships on all levels, and with Ken working at an agency of only one, the relationships that he formulates with his clients and the people that Ken may outsource too make all the difference in if Ken can stay successful in the marketing and advertising environment.

Not Your Average Redeveloper


stu mcgowan real estate
Stu Mcgowan


Stu Mcgowan is not your typical real-estate redeveloper and there are plenty of reasons why he is the Anti-Trump of real estate because of his community influenced social mission that is behind Stu’s career. When my Professor Dr.Young was asked to describe our upcoming guest speaker the week before Stu’s appearance she simply could not give a direct answer to describe Stu, and after hearing him speak I can totally see why she was unable to put a specific label on him. Stu is known around Burlington Vermont as the guy that owns all of the oddly colored houses. He currently owns 78 properties in the city of Burlington Vermont. He started his journey in Korea and Vietnam and eventually moved back to the states and lived in New Jersey as a military brat. After New Jersey he went to veterinarian school for 1 year at the University of Vermont but was totally not into the curriculum. Stu took time off to work more than full-time at 120 hours per week at two jobs until he saved up enough money to travel to Europe. He also spent time in Alaska mining gold, but eventually video production inspired Stu.


colored houses
Properties of Stu Mcgowan


Stu eventually went back to Vermont to design his own major to become a video producer, he got to realize his passion when he was able to take coursework after his travels that he wanted to take in order to discover what made him most passionate. His self-designed major in Public Relations and Media Creation which lead him to working on educational videos at the NoodleHead Network. He ended up getting married shortly after graduating and moved into a duplex in the Old North End. The Old North End at the time was known as the area filled with “outsiders” in Burlington, but Stu made it his mission, “to do stuff that is good for community”, he expressed that at the time there was lots of need within the community. Stu shortly found out that the school system in the Old North End needed major help and became the President of the PTO. Stu transformed the helpless 3 member PTO program to 200 PTO members. He personally built the PTO up from scratch and got noticed by people in the community for his volunteer work He has also been active in the community volunteering as the Head Empire for little leaguers and volunteered with the cub scouts in Burlington.


crazy house
One of Stu’s Properties


Stu started gaining his real estate developing experience when he rebuilt and renovated dilapidated houses with his own kids and other kids that flocked to his house in the Old North End. Stu got the idea to start his business called ShoelessManagement/Konstruction by trying to rehash Burlington homes and hire young employees and pay them well at the same time. It is a business model that sure has worked out well for Stu and his employees. Stu provided value for the community of Burlington because he always had a common thread in prioritizing his social mission in any of his endeavors. I strive to eventually work or create an organization that can represent the community and provide them with greater value because of my own doing or collective doing.


Stu has always had the neighborhood first and the social responsible business fund managed by the City of Burlington helped him out to expand his property management business by lending him more funds. Stu is a one-of-kind landlord in a college-town like Burlington where slumlords are the norm and apartments are not given the proper care or are completely neglected. Stu until his retirement was on the scene and visible at all his properties. He has never raised the monthly rent for his tenants if they are still residing at one of his properties. His passion to do good for others has evolved into a website called ShareYourself.org that teaches do gooders how to take an idea with a social mission and make it possible by allowing others to assist in process using his online platform.

ShareYourself Kickstarter Video





I admired how Stu said that it was never about money that drove him, it was the fact that he was able to be involved. He strives to teach more people about the ways that he has done business and how it has benefitted his career by not taking any shortcuts in his business endeavors. I loved how he told the class that if you can live a creative life than anything is essentially possible and solving problems in creative ways should be the emphasis when trying to create more innovation.

csr stuff.png


I told Stu that I was passionate about the outdoors and may want to pursue a career in the outdoor industry. Stu immediately had advice for me, that advice was to never work within an industry that is 100% reliant on weather and its only target market is the top 1%. I took his advice to heart and in my job search have made it a requirement to search  for jobs in industries that are not solely dependent on the weather. Stu has been my favorite guest speaker in our marketing capstone of the semester because of his charisma and his drive to help out his community. I also think that Stu would make an amazing mayor for the city of Burlington in the near future.

Struggling Vermont Ski Resorts





Why I want to work for a B-Corporation


Why companies with creative and moving social missions will be more successful??

We need more B-corporations that focus efforts on social corporate responsibility

From their mission statement alone Patagonia distinguishes itself as a very unique B-Corporation and they truly are a pioneer in their sector.

Patagonia’s Mission Statement:
Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

yvon chouuinard
Yvon working in his shop

I have taken a particular interest in the founder and owner of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, and his strong social mission that he has encapsulated within his organization from the ground as the leader of Patagonia. I hope to work for an organization in my near future that isn’t adversarial to nature, culture, and the economic disparity around the globe. The company to this day is labeled as a B-Corporation,and Patagonia provides environmental public benefit and value to certain issues through the profits that they generate each year.Patagonia is one of the most successful outdoor gear/clothing companies of all time with annual revenues of 600 Million USD and over 2000 employees. Yvon Chouinard is an avid climber and his first business venture was in his own equipment company named Chouinard Equipment. Yvon’s blacksmith background helped him to manufacturer chrome molybdenum steel pitons and climbing equipment. By 1970 Yvon had the most lucrative climbing hardware company in the United States even before Patagonia started releasing their clothing line.

Recommend Reading

We need more businesses that can raise food production, eliminate disease, and improve people’s lives on a global scale and keeping them employed with the proper job security. I personally want to have a career where I can create benefits for others without losing my own personal identity. I know deep down inside that I feel extremely enthusiastic about nature and I want to live a life where I am surrounded by nature and its wonder. I love the idea of encouraging more people to get out of their houses and to participate in outdoor activity. A job in the outdoor industry is a job that I could truly see myself excel at because of my drive to work in a profession that I am truly passionate about. I found it extremely enthralling that Yvon never dreamed of becoming a businessman and was simply doing this to keep climbing and be able to pay the bills. Yvon started his organization by hiring his friends that also liked to climb, it can’t get much better than starting a business with your friends doing the exact thing that makes you wanna get out of your bed every morning. Kudos to Patagonia and their sustainable supply chain that functions like an eco-system with as few suppliers and contractors as possible to be meet demand. I have a deep desire for the environment and want to contribute to aiding the environmental predicament by refraining from motorized sports and stick to human powered sports instead.

How Patagonia Gives Back:

1. One Percent For the Planet

2. World Trout Initiative

3.Footprint Chronicles

4.Common Threads Recycling Program



Giving the Gift of Stock

stockpile logo.png

There is an organization by the name of “Stockpile” founded in San Francisco, California that has opened the doors for many more people to start trading online in order to buy smaller shares of a company without massive initial deposit fees. and only charges the user $.99c USD for each transaction compared to some of the most popular trade broker sites like E-Trade and TD-Ameritrade where they both make $9.99 USD commission on every transaction and $500.00 USD is the minimum initial deposit where all it takes with Stockpile is an account and routing number from your bank to get started with your very first portfolio. Stockpile now becomes the alternative for many people that have insufficient funds to invest the minimum initial deposit.


stockpile kiosk merchandise


Stockpile are selling shares of the market behemoths like Google, Amazon, Tesla, and Apple. Stockpile also offers shares in exchange traded funds(ETFs) that include a collection of stocks, gold bars, stocks, commodities, and bonds. Stockpile possesses the convenience to invest, and invest in the brands that the individual loves on a personal level. Stockpile allows the purchaser to invest in (American depository receipt)ADRs, ADRs are securities that are traded on U.S. Stock Exchange to represent the ownership of foreign companies. Stockpile is even available for download in the Apple app-store for use on an Apple’s IOS mobile software.


There is a fixed value for the gift certificate until the gift is redeemed for the number of shares proportionally to the stock chosen. The user has to be 18 years old, but the parent can open an account for an individual under the age requirement to own shares. Registered by FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) and the SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation). Risks are still involved even though its a gift card have to keep that mind when purchasing gift-card from Stockpile. Remember to have your social security number ready also if you want to redeem your shares. Stockpile also offers e-gift purchases sent through e-mail. It can be utilized by anyone who is an American citizen. The gift card is $1.99 + 3% gifting fee with no sales tax just the commission fee from the credit/debit card company and to the trading commission. If you want to make a cash transfer they are free of charge.The accounts with Stockpile are insured up to $500,000 per account.


The CEO and CO-founder is Avi Lele and the headquarters for Stockpile Investments Inc.are in Palo Alto, California and they act as brokerage firm for all types of consumers.

Avi Lele speaking during a Podcast

 You can buy physical Stockpile gift cards at Buehler’s, Giant Eagle, Kmart, OfficeMax, Safeway, SuperValu, and Wegmans locations.

Stockpile was one of the winners at the 2014 Finovate Spring event in San Jose, California


gift card add for stockpile.png


I bought my first stock GPRO, or GoPro Inc. by setting up my bank account with Stockpile and registering an account with $25.00 dollars. I bought the stock at $12.95 per share and used all $25.00 the money I transferred. 99 cents is charged for each purchase, so I was given $24.01 to buy 1.86413 shares of GPRO. I opened my account in early March, and since then I followed the stock market more than I ever have in my life. I think Stockpile has a really innovative concept, and I would personally suggest using it as a tool to learn more about trading for consumers that are just starting to learn how to trade.I would totally buy GPRO stock now because they are about to release their first drone called the “Karma” although GPRO may have competitors, but the Karma upon release will be the lowest priced drone of its kind on the market.






All Nations Under God

international pledge of allegiance

International pledge of allegiance causes controversy for many Americans


There is a public school by the name of PS75 in New York City that has taken it upon themselves to change the pledge of allegiance, we Americans have recited since our first days of schooling. PS75 teaches in English and Spanish because many of the students speak both languages. PS75 is a very globally diverse school compared to the rest of the nation, yet PS75 is still receiving backlash for putting the flag up for auction on Biddingforgood.com, but the post for the flag and its description were removed shortly after because of the opposition toward the kindergarteners international flag.


PS75 Emily Dickinson School


The American flag that the kindergartners created has the flags of Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico etc. amounting to 22 nations total. Some critics say that this is an act of treason by the school officials because it desecrates the American flag. Sean Hannity from “The Sean Hannity Show” went off about how he thought our youth is indoctrinated by left-wing ideas. I think the teachers were simply trying to teach acceptance, but in a world where political correctness is necessary many Americans are agreeing with his outrageous claims.


sean hannity show.jpg

We are in living in a globalized society and with the advance of technology we have the access to learning about new cultures and societies we should embrace global citizenry. I asked fellow kindergarten teacher Donna Hasler of the Baltimore County Public School System what her take was on the controversy, she stated that, “A project like the international flag could be used to teach students about foreign cultures, acceptance, and tolerance that could create learning opportunities for my students”. I personally agree with Donna, and I think we should’t accuse PS75 of promoting their “liberal indoctrination” tactics because they are simply educating their students about globalism and helping these kids actually learn more about globalism at a young age. I think it would have a positive effect on the education system as a whole in the United States because we clearly are lagging beyond countries like South Korea who have the best education system currently in the world. As an International Business major at Champlain College I feel that globalization should be taught to students as early as possible because the last time I checked the United States is globalizing at an unprecedented rate, and our education should be adapting to these changes.




The United States ranks 14th in education… It is probably time to switch things up a bit. By 2016 you think that the United States Public Schools and public opinion would be able to tolerate teaching their students about building a global community along with learning about their own nation. Americans we need to meet somewhere in the middle. We need to create an environment where all  feel welcomed and where we can make our United States united once again.


PS75 school official and students have faced bomb threats and shooting threats the last couple days since their auction post. These are kindergarteners and school educators and administrators, not radical extremists. We should be teaching our youth about multi-culturalism (the notion that all cultures are equally valid).


Ban Ki-Moon

Ban Ki-Moon is the Secretary General of the United Nations. Ki-Moon believes that his organization is the parliament for humanity, hope, peace, security, and sustenance to the world. Why don’t we take his lead America? We should be using our resources to teach students to be better global citizens.

United Nations Flag