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Ann Zuccardy

About Vermont Shortbread Company

In 1996, creative entrepreneur and food lover Ann Zuccardy kitchen-tested some traditional shortbread recipes, added a shake of this and a dash of that; infused a bit of her own genius, and came up with the original recipe for what is possibly the best-tasting shortbread on BOTH sides of the prime meridian. Friends and neighbors who sampled the goods were powerless to resist the rich, buttery shortbread - "a taste of heaven melting in your mouth".

As Ann tells it, "I love food. I love well-prepared food. I love sitting around a table for hours eating and drinking too much. I love writing, thinking, and talking about food incessantly. Ten years ago, I saw specialty food as a hot growth industry and I was right… it’s still growing and I’m in a great place to ride the wave." A well-paying consulting stint as a tech writer afforded Ann the best of three worlds: a flexible professional life, ample time to spend nurturing her daughter; and the chance to slowly develop her true passion, Vermont Shortbread Company.

Back in those days, Vermont Shortbread was strictly a local phenomenon, lovingly prepared in the kitchen of Ann's home and delivered by Ann herself to a small crop of loyal customers. Today, the Vermont Shortbread Company client base spans from coast to coast; and thanks to the internet and enthusiastic word-of-mouth referrals, Ann's shortbread is clearly going places -- this year, as far as Nicaragua, Great Britain, and Korea!

Ann's gourmet treat has graced the tables of many a blushing "Vermont Shortbride," arrived on doorsteps at holiday time as "homemade goodness in a gift box"; and served as a popular gift item for her many small business and corporate customers. At the end of 2005, Ann and her husband built a commercial bakery in their home and she's hoping that 2006 is the year she can officially make Vermont Shortbread Company a booming specialty food business. For Ann, the recipe for success includes her prized shortbread oven; a stockpile of natural ingredients including fresh, creamery butter, flour, nuts and assorted flavorings; everything needed to package and ship shortbread orders far and wide... and of course, a planet full of voracious Vermont Shortbread fans!

In addition to shortbread, Ann's got other creative ideas simmering on the back burner. She plans to soon put her writing and teaching background to good use - coaching fellow food entrepreneurs who are looking to expand their own businesses. Ann serves on the Board of Directors for Vermont-based non-profits, The Burlington Currency Project and Child Care Resource.

Ann credits an increase in local business gift sales in 2006 to her recent acceptance for membership to a BNI (Business Network International) chapter. She is also on the Executive Board of Wild Women Entrepreneurs, an organization that encourages women entrepreneurs to reach their full potential in business and in life.

Says Ann of her recent achievements, "Now that I’ve built the facility in which to mass produce my product, I've built a strong network, and I’m not doing all the work alone, nothing can stop me." Whatever happens, one thing's for sure... Ann's next shortbread endeavor is sure to be a true culinary achievement.

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