Fifty thousand miles is a lot of miles. It exceeds twice circling the globe. From the age of 39, Woodstock’s Robert (Bob) Raymond, worried that his workaholic lifestyle would shorten his life, began running as a source of exercise. It was sparked by a bet Bob made with his good friend and famed Dallas developer Trammell Crow to run in all 50 states. For the next 39 years, Bob has run not only in all 50 states but in all 50 state capitals as well. Furthermore, the now retired investment portfolio manager has run in 44 different countries, including 11 marathons in five countries. His most recent marathon was in Dublin, Ireland last October. What made it especially memorable was that he ran it accompanied by his daughter and granddaughter.
Over the course of the intervening 39 years, Bob has run in the world’s most northernmost town of Longyearbyen, Norway as well as the world’s most southernmost town of Puerto Williams, Chile.
“I never ran very fast but at least that gave me a better chance to see interesting things in some pretty unusual places,” said Raymond. “It’s an interesting world,” he concluded.
On June 29, Bob Raymond completed 50,000miles of running. To celebrate the unique occasion, his daughter Elizabeth Raith and granddaughter Morgan joined with him in running his goal-setting mile. Later, joined with his wife Beverly,they presented him with a celebratory cake in honor of the achievement.
As Bob Raymond is approaching his 79th year, he plans to slow down a bit running just 2-3 times a week rather than the 4-5 times a week he maintained as a schedule for nearly 40 years. His physical bearing and stamina belie his age. Bob Raymond is an inspiration for us all.
Ski Museum Awarded Grant
Jeff Leich, curator of the New England Ski Museum (NESM) that contains elements of Woodstock’s pioneering ski history, announced a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The $86,000 grant will be used to create a permanent exhibit telling the story of the development of skiing as a sport and an economic engine of the North Country. The grant was among 160 awarded under the 2011 Museums for America program. There were over 480 applicants for the coveted grants.
“We are pleased to support museums through investments in high-priority, high value activities that benefit communities throughout the US,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. “These museums, small and large, will help to educate and inspire the public for years to come.”
The New England Ski Museum creates a new exhibit each year. It also displays a mix of historic objects, artwork, and photographs that remain for longer periods. Some of the highlights of these ‘permanent’ exhibits include a selection of the Museum’s best skis showing the evolution of the ski over time, significant trophies of the sport, the National Ski Patrol parka owned by its founder ‘Minnie’ Dole, and the oldest book known to depict images of skiers, dating from 1580.
Wild Apple Graphics In Vermont
Dummerston writer Joyce Marcel wrote a lengthy and thorough article about John and Laurie Chester and the creation of their art publishing business, Wild Apple Graphics located in Woodstock.
The backgrounds of this energetic and creative couple are profiled with each bringing to the table an overriding interest in art with one having considerable business acumen while the other a passion for providing art to the home decorating market.
Michael Chaimberg, president of Artisimo Designs, Inc. one of the largest manufacturers of wall décor in Canada and Wild Apple Graphic’s biggest customer has the highest regard for John and Laurie Chester. He said, “We buy from other publishers like Wild Apple, but John and Laurie are fantastic people. They’re very passionate. Laurie works with artists and develops artwork for the mid-price range. That’s not gallery-type stuff, but stuff found in volume stores like Target.” He continues, “John and Laurie have helped bring our industry to a respectable level. They have a very wonderful reputation in the industry.” Chaimberg concludes, “They’re just really good, honorable people, have great standards, are very talented and do a wonderful job.” Warren Kimble was a struggling Brandon folk artist whose work was discovered by Laurie who sought him out. He became the first artist-in-residence. The collaboration helped jump-start his art into a multi-million dollar business for him as well as Wild Apple Graphics in 1990.
John and Laurie are the sole owners of Wild Apple Graphics. They have supplied needed funds from their own pockets eschewing any bank debt. Today they employ 29 people to meet the demands of their $4 million annual business.
The story is a great case study for business schools throughout America. John and Laurie have established a successful business but it didn’t happen like a fairy tale; it was fraught with challenges. There were many crossroads in considering the potential for increased business. Some they chose without success. The critical element was that the Chesters realized this before their action threatened the very survival of their core business of postering and licensing.
Operating in a small community like Woodstock, Laurie and John find it is particularly heartbreaking to have to lay off people and down-size when business demand shrinks. In looking back at their actions over the past 22 years, they believe that they didn’t act quickly enough nor pare operations deep enough to meet the reduced demand, a valuable lesson to be learned.
With attention to detail and with an undaunted passion for their business, the Chesters have carved out an important niche in the world of art. We are all the beneficiaries of their success.
The purpose of this column is to primarily recognize what’s happening in the business community. You may reach Paul Bousquet by phoning 802-299-5265 or via e-mail at Paulbousquet@comcast.net.
This article first appeared in the August 11th print edition of the Vermont Standard.