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Posts Tagged ‘Verlaine Daeron’

Economic Development Officials “Heroes in Hard Times”

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Congratulations are in order for New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald and New Hampshire Division of Economic Development North Country Business Resource Specialist Beno Lamontagne for their role in the state being mentioned in People Magazine’s “Heroes in Hard Times” section (9/14/09 issue).

Both Commissioner Bald and Beno were instrumental in saving a Colebrook eatery by helping the owner work through visa issues, and though the Commissioner wasn’t named in the article, everyone “in the know” recognizes his vital role in the effort. Here’s the text of the article:

Bonding Over Baguettes

Every morning for the past eight years, French-born couple Verlaine Daeron, 51, and Marc Ounis, 62, have risen at 3 a.m. to roll dough and mold madelines for customers of their bakery Le Rendez-Vous Cafe. But their American dream came crashing down in March, when Verlaine went to Paris to renew her U.S. visa and was denied because her business was deemed “marginal.”

Beno Lamontagne

Beno Lamontagne

Not to residents of Colebrook (pop. 2,600) who loved their little piece of Paris and considered its French proprietors their own. “They’re good, decent people, and there’s not too many of those left,” says Caleb Skousen, a Rendez-Vous regular.

After the couple’s friend Beno Lamontagne persuaded the local paper to do a story on their plight, hundreds of people sent letters of support; Verlaine forwarded a 2-lb. stack of testimonials to the U.S. Embassy in Paris. Her visa renewal was granted in May and she and Marc are back to baking. The publicity has led to a flood of tourists and much-needed business for the town.

“In a small town,” Verlaine says, “everyone’s behind you.”

Great job by Commissioner Bald, Beno, the citizens of Colebrook and the Rendez-Vous Cafe!

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director

A Recipe for Success

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Yes, add a pinch of hope, a sprinkling of care and a dash of optimism and you can basically make any dream a reality.

I’ve always considered Colebrook, NH “the little town that could” and once again, they’ve reaffirmed my faith in their tenacity, resolve and spirit. When word came down in April that area landmark Le Rendez-Vous was shutting down because the U.S. Embassy refused to renew the visa of owner Verlaine Daeron, the community could have accepted the news as just another blow to the local economy. Fat chance…..

Instead, they wrote letters, they lobbied their congressmen and pulled together a petition to be sent to the the U.S. Embassy in Paris. How dare the team of bureaucrats at the Embassy decide that the little bakery that had provided so much joy to Colebrook residents wasn’t turning enough of a profit to merit a visa renewal? 

Last week, thanks to the determination of “the little town that could,” the Embassy reversed their decision – Verlaine would be allowed to return to the U.S., Le Rendez-Vous would remain open and Colebrook residents would be able to enjoy the  freshly baked breads and chocolate madelines they’ve come to expect over the past eight years.

Congratulations to Le Rendez-Vous, congratulations to New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation, congratulations to the Division of Economic Development (especially Beno Lamontagne for his efforts to save the bakery) and most of all, congratulations to the citizens of Colebrook for a job well done. This little town’s spirit is a tasty recipe for success and community pride indeed.

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director