On June 8, the Vermont Center for Independent Living presented an Ally of Accessibility Award at a Middlesex business. The award went to Red Hen Baking Company owners Eliza Cain and Randy George, as well as the former owners of the Red Hen building, Donny and Lise Wexler of Strider Development.
Red Hen is not only a bakery and café but a retail store that sells specialty grocery items.
David Sagi, who happens to be ADA program manager for the state of Vermont, nominated RedHen for the award. He has been a café customer for many years. He said, “The old access ramp was a challenge, especially in the wintertime. The new entrance is pretty much on grade and covered, making it really easy to enter the bakery and restaurant. They’ve done an excellent job with the new entrance and access. It’s now so easy for both myself and other customers who may have mobility problems to enter. I appreciate their awareness and wanting to make the bakery accessible to everyone.”
Sagi added that the staff at the Red Hen is wonderful. “They will bring food to the table for me and are very friendly and courteous.”
Eliza Cain said, “Our wonderful ramp and accessible bathroom is a result of [the Wexlers’] values in constructing the building that we rent for the bakery. We are thrilled that this mattered to them in designing a public space for customers. We are so happy to have this wonderful space to rent and share with our customers.”
Don Wexler was very matter-of-fact about the physical improvements made to the building. “It’s the way it should be. We did it because it’s the right thing to do.”
VCIL Executive Director Sarah Launderville said, “I am grateful for the inclusive and welcoming environment at Red Hen. We really enjoy being able to honor businesses that have accessible spaces and understand the importance of them. Access is not only about removing physical barriers but about how you treat people. Red Hen has excelled in both these areas, thanks to both the company’s owners and to the Wexlers.”
Since January, the Red Hen property has been owned by a group called Planetary Matters.