Benjamin founded the Skinny Pancake with brother Jonathan Adler while a student at Middlebury College in the spring of 2003. The Skinny Pancake opened in the summer of 2003 as a simple crepe cart on the Church Street Marketplace. Benjamin graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Music from Middlebury College the following year. He continued to grow the vending business through the summer of 2006, when it became the first cart ever to be accepted into the Vermont Fresh Network. During these early years with the Skinny Pancake, Benjamin spent the "off-season" ski patrolling in Montana (2004-05) & volunteering in New Orleans post-Katrina (2005-06). In the fall of 2006, Benjamin began development work to open the first Skinny Pancake storefront, which opened in June 2007. After two successful years, he spearheaded development of a second storefront in Montpelier, which opened in June 2009. In the fall of 2010, Benjamin opened a third location in Burlington's Old North End named 'the Chubby Muffin. In the process, he created the capacity to expand the Skinny Pancake's catering operation; Skinny Pancake catering now caters everything from business brunches to weddings. Benjamin currently focuses all of his time and attention towards strengthening the current operations and developing future opportunities for the Skinny Pancake, Inc. This fall, the Skinny Pancake introduced the newest member of the family: an airstream concession trailer at UVM's University Place.
Fundraising / Volunteer work in VT:
2010 & 2011 board member for the Old North End Ramble.
3x annual administration of Skinny Pancake's $500 Community Gardening Grant through 'Wowcrowd.' This fund started in 2011.
Donation of 6, maybe 8?, fruit trees to various Community Garden plots around Burlington.
Annual participant in NOFA-VT's Share the Harvest
Untold gift certificates donated to innumerable charities for auction-style fundraisers....I requested a number from our accountant yesterday, but am yet to hear back...ought to be able to get these to you at some point.
My brother Jonny & I have made a very deliberate decision to get very involved in flood relief work, specifically for farming. The following are initiatives we are leading or participating in:
A fundraiser at the Intervale in concert with other BTV based local food restaurants....this is very actively in the works right now.
A fundraiser for the Mad River Valley at Sugarbush (unofficially) with Grace Potter. On top of the Skinny donating proceeds, I'll be coordinating food vending. This event did not come to fruition.
A fundraiser in Montpelier with other Montpelier based local food restaurants. Possibly in the last week of September with Anais Mitchell performing. I am basically doing the event organizing for this entire event currently, though I'm certainly hoping to get some buy-in from others to volunteer too. Plans are developing quickly. This event did not come to fruition. For both this & the MRG event, the concept was centered around specific musicans (Grace Potter, Anais Mitchel). Both performers opted for other opportunities and thus these event plans were cancelled.
Promotions for a clothing & food drive at Main St Landing in Burlington.
'Catering for a cause' initiative: we'll be donating 10% of all catering during the holiday period to farmer-oriented disaster relief work.
100% of sales for the first week at our airstream on the UVM campus will be donated to the Intervale Center's disaster relief fund.
We're preparing to sell our t-shirts to raise money for either NOFA-VT or the Intervale Center.
With all this fundraising, we're laying plans to make the Skinny Pancake a member of 1% for the Planet...though that is yet to be confirmed.
Primary organizer for Green Drinks Burlington & Green Drinks Montpelier. Both are hosted monthly & include a monthly environmentally-oriented sponsor as well as numerous sustaining sponsors & product donors. In BTV, we see about 100 ppl each month. In Montp, we see upwards of 50 ppl a month.
In general, we look to spend our marketing $ on sponsorships for good causes over & above traditional media. Thus, we sponsor things like Center City Little League, the Growing Local Festival in Montpelier.
A word on our local foods work: in our last self-audit (Sept '10), 68.5% of all food & beverage purchases went towards local raw & value-added products. Assuming that number is higher than normal (peak harvest season), it is still safe to say that we spend approximately $350k into the local food economy each year
As of October 1st, the Skinny Pancake, Inc has joined 1% for the Planet. We will be donating 1% of our revenues to local grassroots environmental non-profits (over $20k annually). We are the largest Vermont business to have joined 1% for the Planet to date.
Favorite part of job?
Finding ways to 'do good while doing good business' within the community. When we are creative, innovative & successful in this area of our work, it excites & inspires both patrons & our staff. I get a lot of satisfaction in the process.
Most inspiring mentor?
Who is your living hero?
Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia
Favorite downtime activity?
Favorite Vermont Escape?
Skiing deep in the backwoods in the winter & biking to the end of the causeway & back in the summer.
Favorite social network?
New York Times
Vermont Business Person you would most want to network with?
Rob Downey, for his success developing two of the most highly respected local foods establishments in Burlington.