Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Dori Ross, owner of Tonewood, a business founded in 2012 that sells maple products and offers a maple tree adoption program, explains how this image represents her business.
This photo shows the behind the scenes of our home-based business. We did a photo shoot in my dining room, and it is typical to see my dog, Fischer, who is my shadow, lying under the table. We worked the photo shoot around him. The photo-shoot was conducted by local photographer and food stylist Carey Nershi, and her brother was the model. Everything we do at Tonewood is local, so we use Vermont ingredients and services whenever possible.
I was — and still am — inspired by neighboring Vermont sugar makers who are fifth generation families. I want to share their culture and history with everyone. I was born and raised on a farm in Canada, so maple is in my blood. I sugared as a kid for fun with my family, as well as with my kids when we moved to a farm in Vermont. When I started researching food business ideas, maple and these sugar making families jumped to the forefront. We are part food, part mission, as we seek to preserve family-owned sustainable maple farming.
The biggest challenges I face with my business are making a profit to pay myself — I work for free so far — managing cash flow and scaling up in size in a conscientious manner.
We're a One Percent for the Planet member, so we donate one percent of all sales to climate change research efforts by the University of Vermont's Proctor Maple Research Center.