MANCHESTER - It seems like there's a new business applying for a permit or coming into town. While the High Ridge Redevelopment, including the proposed Hampton Inn and Suites, along with three retail spaces has dominated the dialogue, there are other businesses as well.

Pauline Moore, assessor and economic development officer for the town said all this movement is exciting.

"I think the exciting part is a lot of the activity is smaller local businesses coming into town," she said.

Along Main Street, next to Bagel Works a country store will open. At a planning commission meeting, Allison Hopkins, director of zoning and planning, said the store would feature Vermont and New England goods.

Further into town.

A new event barn is rising on the property of the Inn at Manchester. An opening of the new facility is anticipated by Thanksgiving.
A new event barn is rising on the property of the Inn at Manchester. An opening of the new facility is anticipated by Thanksgiving. (Andrew McKeever photo)
The Vermont Butcher Shop will have a second location next to Marimekko.The butcher shop already has a location in Londonderry on route 11 and hopes to open their Manchester location sometime late fall 2014 or early 2015.

Nancy and Ed St. Onge, of Arlington, are behind the Raven's Den, the new restaurant just out of town on Depot Street. Ed St. Onge has 30 years of working as a certified executive chef and helped establish the Stratton Mountain Club in 2003. His wife, Nancy, has worked in sales and marketing.

"Our skill set kind of married each other," she said. "I'm marketing, sales, promotions and he's the nuts and bolts [of running a restaurant]."

The Raven's Den is named after their great Dane Raven. The St.


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Onges describe the mood of the restaurant as a fast casual cuisine. Ed said there would be tiers of foods to order, everything from a more inexpensive burger to fine steaks. While the restaurant will be fast casual, it will still be fine dining level food, he said.

"[We decided to open the restaurant because] we still felt like there was room for us to do something significant," he said. "We felt this was what the town needs."

Both Ed and Nancy said Manchester already has some fantastic restaurants, but they wanted to create a place that was good for both locals and visitors to the area. The Raven's Den will feature a bar, an open dining room and sometime in the future, Nancy said there may even be a private wine cellar that could host events, like rehearsal dinners or birthday parties.

Currently, the entire building is finishing up renovations. Once the renovations are complete, both hope the new restaurant will be opening sometime this fall. The bar, Ed said, should be open before the rest of the restaurant.

A self described "wine-guy," Ed St. Onge will be offering a wide variety of wines in the Raven's Den. Instead of just serving by the bottle or glass, the bar will feature wine on tap, similar to how beer is stored. The wine on tap will feature a selection of reds and whites, as well as proseco.

"I can sell a higher quality wine for a less expensive price," he said.

The St. Onges said they have faith in Manchester and think they can create a place where not just tourists go to eat.

Along with the new addition of the Raven's Den, there are also some new retail locations further into town. Pendleton Wool has moved into the Equinox Square, where Coldwater Creek used to be located. Mark Korro, CEO of Pendleton, said in an email the company was established in 1863 and specializes in wool products. He said they are best known for their wool blankets and woolen shirts. They chose Equinox Square for their Manchester location because it is a good fit with premium retailers as their neighbors, the location and accessibility.

"Manchester has a reputation for livability and diverse community," he wrote in an email. "We are excited to have an opportunity to present the Pendleton brand in such a culturally rich location and grow the awareness of the brand."