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WILMINGTON — Judges of the Make It On Main Street business plan contest couldn't pick just one finalist to award the $20,000 prize.

"This was really tough," Paul Pabst, one of the judges and executive producer for "The Dan Patrick Show," said Thursday night in Historic Memorial Hall. "I just want to let you know every single group got at least one vote and it was a very spirited debate, as they say, downstairs."

A check was ultimately split between 802 Fitness and Therapy and Beurremont Bakery, which already have roots in the community. And downtown organization Wilmington Works will provide $10,000 to the third finalist Haystack Coffee Collaborative if it decides to start up in the neighborhood.

Beurremont Bakery owner Hannah Cofiell said she started her business in 2015.

"But my love of baking in this valley has been part of my life as long as I can remember," she said, as her parents would come up from Connecticut on weekends. "To be able to do this here is better than anything."

Cofiell said she went to pastry school in New York City and served everyone from Al Gore to Beyonce. She moved here, wanting to give country living a try.

"Snowboarding 180 days in a year is also a plus," she said.

802 Fitness and Therapy owner Paul Croutworst said his business has been growing at a very steady pace since starting it about a year and a half ago.

He recently signed a long-term lease for space in the Old School Enrichment Center, formerly Twin Valley High School. He was born and raised in Greenfield, Mass., but moved to Halifax 13 years ago. He is married with three children.

Croutworst said Wilmington is the hub of the Deerfield Valley and there is no local facility with a holistic approach to fitness and health. He called his business a "lifestyle enhancement gym," where workouts and nutrition plans are personalized.

Brian Holt, of Haystack Coffee Collaborative, said his group was still interested in starting its business in Wilmington and had plans to visit two other potential locations. For housing a coffee shop and roasting facility, its members had already looked at the former Poncho's Wreck building and space Brattleboro Savings & Loan is temporarily using.

"Basically, we really love coffee and it served as a catalyst for really genuine experiences," said Chrystal Holt, Brian's wife. "And it's led to really meaningful relationships in our lives."

Her group met in Amsterdam and its members live all around the world. Justin Will said he would import the coffee. The plan also is to offer classes and host events.

The $20,000 came from Paul Pabst, who won the money playing "Sports Jeopardy" and has a second home in town. He served on a panel of judges alongside Brattleboro Savings & Loan Senior Commercial Banking Officer Peter Carvell, Brattleboro Development Credit Corp. Executive Director Adam Grinold, Bartleby's Books owner Lisa Sullivan and Rep. John Gannon, D-Windham-6. Sullivan and Gannon also sit on the Wilmington Works Board of Directors.

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"This was a tough process," Sullivan, board chairwoman, said before addressing the finalists. "But we really, really are thrilled with the businesses that have been in the competition and all of you for putting so much energy in."

Cofiell credited Janet Boyd, of Boyd Family Farm and Boyd Real Estate, with teaching her what "hard work was all about" and believing in her from the beginning. Cofiell started off selling her goods at the Whitingham Farmers' Market using local or Vermont products whenever possible. She created a monthly subscription service for breads, which she said has reached its capacity at 35 families. Then she linked up with Cask & Kiln Kitchen in downtown Wilmington, where the owners allowed her to use the kitchen before their staff came in for the day.

"I learned how to make bread with fire," she said. "I've been doing that for a year and a half. And getting a license has enabled me to be a wholesale vendor."

Cofiell sells her baked goods at several local farms, Ratu's Liquor & Market and the Mount Snow ski resort. She said with her own space, she could have more time to make the products and more room to hold supplies. She plans to hire an employee to help. She also wants to host classes and birthday parties. She said the Old School Enrichment Center would be a convenient location but told judges she would be open to other spots.

"As a banker, I like the diversity," Carvell said. "You're not relying on one component."

Croutworst said his gym builds community, which increases accountability and results for its members. His plan is to guide exercises and teach members about nutrition. Membership options include working in large group settings with up to 20 people, small groups of about four people or one-on-one personal training.

"Basically, if you have a pulse, we can achieve results for you," said Croutworst, who started out as a physical therapist and then rented a yurt in Wilmington to offer fitness classes. "I'm very passionate about what I do ... I want to help people live active, healthy lives."

He said residents polled during annual Town Meeting Day in March were asked what business they'd most like to see and "the number one choice was a fitness center."

The contest is what brought Haystack Coffee Collaborative to Wilmington, Brian Holt told judges.

"We love Vermont, we love the skiing, we love the climate," he said. "After coming here, it's definitely caught our attention."

Brian and Will serve in the military now but would plan to join Chrystal soon in living locally to run the business. Will said the contest showed "Wilmington's desire to work with new businesses."

Pabst said he believes all three businesses would be a great addition to town. He suggested about four other contestants should also keep pursuing their projects.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.