For years, Nadia Dole had stopped at Vergennes Laundry on her way to visit family in Montreal. She loved the simplicity of the French-style café and bakery on Main Street in Vergennes, and even considered purchasing the business when it went up for sale in 2017 by then-owners Julianne and Didier Murat. But she wasn’t quite ready to take the plunge. Three years later, her dream has become a reality.
Last fall Dole purchased the business from Chef Christian Kruse, who had rebranded the restaurant as Vergennes Laundry by CK. As the new owner, Dole has brought back not only the café’s original name, but also the Murat’s minimalist approach. She opened on January 7th with a simple menu of an espresso bar and a small offering of wood-fired pastries and épicerie. Over time she plans to increase her offerings to include a selection of grocery items, wine, and prepared “to go” meals.
Turning a Dream into a Reality
Although Dole originally planned to handle the financing of the project on her own, she realized after Covid-19 hit that she needed support. She reached out to the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA), which in turn referred her to the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) for assistance writing a business plan. Dole didn’t hesitate to reach out. As the former owner of food shops in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, she understood the value of having an experienced advisor at her side during the business startup process.
“I feel very lucky to have worked with Nancy Shuttleworth of VtSBDC,” Dole said. “I absolutely feel like I could have not done it without her. Her knowledge and patience with me helped focus, streamline, and articulate my vision. Her confidence in me was the motivation I needed to believe in what I was going for, and her dedication and guidance helped me secure the loan to make my dream come true.”
Shuttleworth assisted Dole with business planning and budgeting. But perhaps most importantly, she helped Dole define what success would look like. “Her honesty helped me ask myself the right questions that led me forward to attain my goal,” Dole said. “Nancy, as far as I am concerned, was the perfect match and the reason I was able to make this happen. I will forever be grateful.”
Vergennes Laundry is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Looking for more? Visit VtSBDC.org to explore resources or connect with an advisor.
This story by the Vermont Small Business Development Center originally appeared at https://www.vtsbdc.org/longtime-customer-becomes-new-cafe-owner/. Written by Amanda Kuhnert.