Business Notes: Dec. 13, 2015

Business Notes: Dec. 13, 2015

White River Junction — With an eye on becoming part of the downtown village’s artsy vibe, fashion designer F.H. Clothing Co. has opened its first “satellite shop” on Gates Street across from Northern Stage, offering a boutique selection of clothing, jewelry and even books.

Designer and entrepreneur Joan Ecker, who owns and runs Quechee-based F.H. Clothing — also known as Fat Hat Clothing — along with her daughters, Jenn and Sara, said she had been watching downtown White River Junction’s evolving comeback for some time as a location to open her first store in 26 years.

The village is “changing in a wonderful and eclectic way and it’s fun to be a part of that,” Ecker said, explaining that Fat Hat’s brand of “easy” clothing designed for women is a good fit with the other stores on the street and downtown. “It’s one area in the Upper Valley with stores that are all outside the box,” Ecker said.

The White River Junction Fat Hat store is open Wednesday to Saturday, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., “although it’s opened at noon a few times,” Ecker offered.

“We’re playing around with hours, maybe hoping to capture some matinee traffic from the theater” in addition to strollers stopping in from the Tuckerbox cafe and restaurant or vintage clothing store Revolution around the corner, Ecker said.

Ecker began her clothing line — all manufactured in the U.S. — in 1979 with a line of handmade hats that she peddled at craft shows before expanding into jackets, shirts and pants for women that embody a “comfortable attitude toward dressing,” according to the company’s website. Apart from its two stores, Fat Hat now sells its brand of clothing in 250 stores around the country, Ecker said.

Company News

J&B Autoworx, a family owned-and-operated auto repair business in Enfield, has received a total of $360,000 in financing from Lake Sunapee Bank and the Grafton County Economic Development Council to purchase a commercial property on Route 4 for a new facility. The financing includes $90,000 provided by the council to Robert Labine, owner of J&B Autoworx, to fund the purchase of the commercial property, formerly the home of Allstate Polyethylene. Labine said he expects renovations of the 7,500-square-foot facility, which include a new concrete floor to house automobile lifts and wheel alignment equipment, electrical improvements and office upgrades, will be completed in January. The new facility, about 300 yards from the company’s current location, means “better exposure, that’s the primary thing,” Labine said. He said he was putting an additional $90,000 above the financing into the project and added that the cost savings of occupying his own space will free up more capital to put toward operations. J & B Autoworx employs four technicians, a manager and a secretary at its Shaker Valley Auto location.

Richard and Ann Fabrizio, of Windy Ridge Orchard in North Haverhill, received the New Hampshire Farm Bureau’s Profile Award last month at the organization’s annual meeting. The annual award recognizes those from New Hampshire for their distinguished service to agriculture and rural life. The Fabrizios have owned and operated Windy Ridge Orchard since 1967 and have been “consistent contributors and supporters of agriculture in the state throughout their lives,” the bureau reported on its website. Richard Fabrizio served as both director and president of the Grafton County Farm Bureau. The two have also served as youth educators. Richard Fabrizio served as a 4-H educator in Grafton County for 28 years and Ann Fabrizio was a schoolteacher until 1998. “Combining the farm with their experience and genuine love for educating, the Fabrizios have provided innumerable people with an opportunity to learn about agriculture through hosting workshops, pruning demonstrations, reading programs and school groups,” the bureau reported.

Upcoming Events

The Enterprise Center at Plymouth is offering a free workshop on c risis c ommunications on Tuesday, from 8-9:30 a.m. Presenters from Devine Strategies will cover the importance of having a plan for unexpected events and tips for developing the best plan. The Enterprise Center is at One Bridge Street, in Plymouth, N.H. Seating is limited and registration is required at, by calling 603-536-2011, or by email at

Items of interest to the local business community are published every Sunday. Submissions may be sent by e-mail to All items are subject to editing.

Author: Staff Reports

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