Chester Vermont Rotary Club
Working to Benefit the Chester Area, Service Above Self 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

Carolyn Frisa - Starting a Small Business in VT

 

Carolyn Frisa

Carolyn Frisa and her husband, Garet McIntyre, a graphic designer, wanted to move from Boston to Vermont. He has roots here and they like the small business environment. Like many professionals who come to Vermont, she wanted her own business, not at home but in its own space.
Carolyn has a master's degree in paper conservation (preserving and conserving art and archival collections on paper). Before moving here she was an associate paper conservator at the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, Massachusetts. Fortunately, the house they bought in Chester in 2008 had an existing one-year lease, which allowed planning time. Although her professional market and channels of contact were well-defined, exploration of local banks, inventory, finance, taxes, and wages was a new world. She placed an online call for help in the community and met with town officials, other retailers, family contacts, real estate agents, and the Springfield Small Business Service.
Carolyn found the perfect location, for the right price, in Bellows Falls next to the Opera House. Her Works on Paper studio has a big front window to display her works, is climate-controlled, and has a security system. In addition, its 2,000+ square-feet size allows space for treating oversized artistic and historic objects.
Next came the tough part—running the business. She found a local partner with great hands and a love for the work. She arranged babysitting for their four-year old boy and  adjusted to the extensive travel demands of her profession. Most of all, she found what had been a 48-hour week became more than a 60-hour week. As she told our Rotary group, you have to love the work to justify the demands.