MANCHESTER — Peanut butter and jelly. Bow and arrow. Batman and Robin. Some things are just meant to be paired together.
It wasn’t long ago that Jamie Carey, sales manager for Village Garage Distillery in Bennington, had a vision for another extraordinary partnership. Carey was driving around Manchester this past spring doing some soliciting for his relatively new Bennington establishment.
“I drove by Orvis and a thought just popped into my head. Orvis is all about fly fishing and hunting outdoors,” Carey explained. “All I could picture was afterwards, someone sitting by a fire at the end of the day with a cigar and a bourbon in their hand.”
Carey stopped in, shared his idea and left his information. It didn’t take long to receive feedback. Orvis Manager David Carlsen called him first thing the next morning.
“You could hear it in his voice. He goes, ‘I can’t believe you stopped in… we just remodeled the fishing department and we’re putting a bar in the back,” Carey said. “We were talking about partnering and getting a local distillery to come in and do tastings and bottle sales.”
As it turned out, Carey’s timing was perfect. The remodel had just been completed, and discussions had just begun on how to put the bar to use the previous day.
“When I came in the next day, I called and said to him, ‘Oh, you must have seen the bar.’ And he said, ‘No, I didn’t even know it was there,’” Carlsen recounted with a laugh.
The coincidental meeting set things in motion for the partnership between Village Garage Distillery and Orvis. The distillery hosted a company manager’s meeting over the summer that strengthened the relationship.
“We went down there and they gave us a tasting, gave us a tour, and we just really got excited about the partnership,” said Carlsen. “The managers that were in town had a really good time. The owners and Jamie did a really good job of welcoming us, talking about their business and their culture.”
Following that, Orvis hosted Village Garage for a couple of events using the bar over Labor Day and Columbus Day Weekends. The success and the buzz generated spurred the notion that perhaps Village Garage being in the store every weekend was a good idea.
“Of course the answer was yes. You can’t get any better than partnering with someone like Orvis, especially in this area,” said Carey. The people coming in, [they’re] our target market. People from all over New England and all over the world, really. Being a Vermont-based company, they love the story, love the idea.”
So now, since Dec. 2, Village Garage has been a regular presence within the walls of the outdoor and sporting goods retailer. Brand Ambassador Adam Sears is posted behind the new bar at Orvis from noon to closing every Friday through Sunday.
“We’ve certainly enjoyed having them here,” said Carlsen. “Our customers enjoy it. It just adds a little excitement and theatrics to the store. I think it works out for everyone.”