From Tap to Bottle
ORLEANS, VT - The town of Orleans is welcoming a new resident business to its community. Friday, Lapierre’s will hold the grand opening of its newest location at 303 Willoughby Ave. (RT 58), on the outskirts of Orleans and only a few miles from Exit 26 off I-91. The Canadian company, renowned for producing a high quality organic maple syrup, happens to also be the leading producer of equally high quality maple production equipment. It’s occupying the former Desmarais Equipment building.The 16,000-square-foot facility is a terrific venue for housing and displaying the tremendous breadth of equipment and supplies the company offers, which cover the spectrum of needs for a sugaring operation from the tree to the bottle, so-to-speak. In addition to the supplies and state of the art equipment designed and produced by the company's 160 employees, the store will also provide the area with the benefit of a seasoned staff prepared to assist local sugarhouses – traditional or modern. The store will carry everything from reverse osmosis tanks to releasers and all the related supplies and will provide technical assistance from its staff, which includes highly qualified members like Bucky Shelton, the store's resident sales and service manager, to Tom Paterson, the regional sales manager, and Karen Stanley, who will be the store's manager. As Mr. Shelton explained, Orleans County is seeing considerable expansion of its sugaring operations and having a home office in close proximity to the customers “will help foster expansion and promote further growth,” ensuring that the company is successful in its endeavors. The location will be the sixth Lapierre Equipment branch but only the second facility in the United States. The other U.S. branch is located in Swanton, VT. Lapierre Equipment and Lapierre Maple were founded by Donald Lapierre in 1978 in his native village of St-Ludger de Beauce, where he set up the initial factory in his family’s barn. The farm and factory now boast some 140,000 taps, which are used as a laboratory for the company’s continuous tradition of research, development and production of new and innovative techniques and equipment. Not only is the company the largest manufacturer of its kind in the industry, but its 140,00 taps are the largest sugaring facility in North America. It is responsible for introducing at least 25 new products or improvements into the industry of its own design, among them the first mechanical extractor designed for smaller operations, called the Hobby 500. Much of Lapierre's equipment is new and produced from shinny stainless steel, yet it retains a timeless quality true to tradition.