The meeting started with President Bill ringing the bell with 13 members and 3 guests in attendance...not enough to provide the body heat necessary to warm the room, since the heat wasn't working.

Roy started things off with a proposed fine of 1+9 on Joe P. because of an unattended bag on the street in front of Community National Bank.  Bob P. initially defended Joe by noting that Joe doesn't technically work for CNB, and thus shouldn't be held responsible.   Joe added that the bank is currently conducting its annual winter clothing drive, collecting coats for those in need in the area, and obviously the bag contained donating clothing for the cause.   This prompted Bob to quickly turn on his colleague and revoke his earlier defense, saying that if Joe was truly caring, he would have brought that bag of coats to the meeting today to help us warm up.  The original fine on Joe did not pass.

Joe then advised the club that dictionaries and atlases will be presented to students at Barre City Elementary and Middle School on Friday at 8:30 and any Rotarian is welcome to attend.

Charlie Dindo was officially welcomed as the newest member of the club, after being away for a few weeks with a back injury.   Charlie asked about the possibility of the club making a donation to the BOR mold clean-up project, which is expected to cost around $250,000.   It was decided that the issue will be brought before the board at its meeting next week.

Charlie also suggested the club look into some projects for the future such as a cook-off competition...another issue for next week's board meeting.   President Bill asked any club members with suggestions for community service projects or fund raising projects to contact him or any other board member to get the proposal on the board's agenda.

There was no secretary, thus no secretary's report, but President Bill did introduce our area assistant governor Marsha Hoffman from the Northfield club.

Today's program was Ernie and Karl Boisvert of Boisvert's Shoe Repair, which has been in operation at the same No. Main Street location for 63 years.   Ernie said he learned the shoe repair business from his father, and recalled that at one time there were five other shoe repair operations in Barre, as well as several others scattered throughout Central Vermont.   Now, Boisvert's is the only shoe repair business in the area.   Ernie is also very clearly a HUGE supporter of Barre, a point he made abundantly clear during his talk.

Son Karl, who has been running the business for some time, said Boisvert's has diversified over time, now selling leather goods like purses, wallets, coats, belts and other items.  Karl said he sees a lot of business due to shows and boots made in China, as they tend to be of inferior quality and need repairs more frequently.  He said in particular, Chinese-made soles are not very good and wear out quickly.

Karl said his business now is roughly 75% shoe repair and 25% retail, a change from just a few years ago when the reverse was true.  He said women are buying more expensive boots, which helps his business as they want to keep the boots longer and bring them in for repair rather than replacing them with inexpensive footwear.   As Karl noted, "buy'll last longer"!

Boisvert's also repairs leather jackets and handbags.  They have six employees and Karl is training an apprentice, which in his opinion is the best way to learn the trade, even though there are some schools that teach shoe repair.  Karl himself began in the family business shining shoes while a young school-child.   

George Milne spoke for the club and likely most of the city when he concluded that Barre has been very lucky to have the Boisvert's living and working here.

Karl pulled the winning ticket for Jim Catone.

Reminder that there will be a board of director's meeting next Wednesday at 11:00 prior to our regular meeting.