Local Business Profiles
G. R. Porter
& Sons, Inc.
For most of us, the investment in our home is the most substantial investment we will make in life. That investment not only includes our initial purchase, but also upgrades and renovations we make to that home over time. That means, of course, selecting a contractor for home renovations is an important consideration.
Upper Valley homeowners have a great resource for home building and renovation in G. R. Porter & Sons of Norwich. The company, owned and operated by brothers Tom and Tim Porter, has served area homeowners as custom builders for decades. The Porter brothers are the fourth generation of Porters operating the building and renovation business.
Tom Porter says he and his brother began working in the business at an early age, and bought the business from their father in 1988. Besides their background in building and construction, Tom studied architectural engineering and his brother Tim studied business management, both areas of study critical in operating their construction business.
Though they do some commercial work, Porter says residential work with homeowners is the heart and soul of their business. “The residential customer is who we serve best,” says Tom Porter.
New construction accounts for about 35% of their work, with the majority of the work comprised of remodeling work. “We love renovation and remodeling work,” Porter says. He adds that when working on older and historic homes, even though those homes may have quirky, unusual building characteristics, problems with old homes are often easily solved.
In handling their construction projects, Tom Porter says his firm works with several Upper Valley architects to come up with the best plan for the homeowner. “We work with great area architects… we form a good team,” Porter says.
Tom Porter says one of the keys to his company’s success is communication with the homeowner before and during the project. “Our weekly job meetings are paramount,” says Porter, adding that daily communication via email with the client is another important factor.
G. R. Porter employs a strong cadre of building professionals. “We have 30 employees, including fine finish carpenters,” Porter says. He adds that the area homeowners with whom G. R. Porter works “appreciate fine finish work.”
G. R. Porter boasts a full woodworking shop at the Norwich facility, where they can design and build custom components, such as kitchen cabinetry.
The business’ longevity means that they are now performing renovation and remodeling work on homes the company first built decades ago, says Tom Porter.
Contact G. R. Porter & Sons, Inc., located in Norwich, at 802-649-5222, or visit their website at www.grportersons.com.
River Road Veterinary Clinic
Americans increasingly devote a great deal of time, and money, on their pets. Pet food, toys, lodging, and care accounts for an ever-increasing part of our budgets. Keeping pets healthy is an important part of having a pet, and fortunately, we have many great veterinarians in the Upper Valley, dedicated to the care and health of our animals.
One area vet devoted to caring for our pets is Dr. Christine Pinello, owner of the River Road Veterinary Clinic in Norwich. For over 30 years, Dr. Pinello has taken care of all kinds of Upper Valley animals, both large and small. The fact that Dr. Pinello takes care of large and small animals makes her somewhat rare in the veterinary profession. Many vets specialize in either large animals, such as horses and cattle, or smaller house pets, including dogs and cats.
Dr. Pinello began her veterinary practice in Norwich in 1985, working from her home. In 1988, Dr. Pinello constructed her clinic building next to her home, as she realized “working out of your home is tough.” Over the years, Dr. Pinello constructed additions to the clinic, as the business grew.
Having a great interest in architecture, Dr. Pinello was very involved in the design of the clinic, and the additions. This was a great help in having a clinic building that works extremely well and efficiently for animal care.
Of course, often the treatment of many large animals must take place at the farm. “Large animal problems are often emergencies,” says Dr. Pinello, meaning the veterinarian must travel to the farm. As such, Dr. Pinello has a special truck equipped with everything needed for farm visits. Offering a full range of services, Dr. Pinello also stresses preventative animal care, including annual wellness exams.
With fewer working farms in Norwich and vicinities, Dr. Pinello finds she is handling fewer dairy cattle cases. On the other hand, many area residents have one or two goats, pigs, or alpacas, and care for these of animals is growing.
Another group of pet owners Dr. Pinello often sees are those with exotic pets, such as birds and reptiles. Caring for these pets requires time and patience, says Dr. Pinello, as a good deal of research and study is required for providing health care for exotic pets.
The River Road Veterinary Clinic is located at 445 Route 5 N. in Norwich. Contact them at 802-649-3877, or visit their website at www.riverroadveterinary.com.
Toby Kravitz Dentistry
Operating a business, any business, for close to 30 years is a tough proposition. This level of longevity requires consistent performance, stamina, and a good reputation. Norwich seems to have more than its share of long-running businesses, including the dental practice of Toby Kravitz.
Dr. Kravitz began working as a dentist in the Upper Valley in Woodstock in 1984. After spending a two-year stint in the Peace Corps, which he describes as “a wonderful experience,” Dr. Kravitz returned to the area and opened his Norwich practice in 1989. Starting up one’s own dental practice was a challenge at the time, though even more so today. “It’s a rare experience today to hang up your shingle,” Kravitz says.
As is true with many businesses, the first five or six years were tough getting established, says Dr. Kravitz. “We started slow,” he says. Dr. Kravitz credits the retired executives from the SCORE organization with helping him develop a good business plan, which paid off in establishing the business.
Persistence paid off for Dr. Kravitz, and over the years, the business grew, both in clients served, and the physical size of the clinic. In 2004, the clinic space expanded a great deal, by taking over additional space at the Route 5 location. This expansion allowed Dr. Kravitz to offer seven treatment rooms; when he first opened, there was one treatment room at the clinic.
Dr. Kravitz says he specializes in performing comprehensive restorative dentistry. He explains that this involves a long-term dental plan for the patient, taking in account a plan for the patient’s entire mouth, not simply treating one tooth at a time. This treatment form requires a long commitment, but tends to result in a lower incidence of procedures such as root canals, Dr. Kravitz explains.
Dr. Kravitz employs a staff of six at the practice; “All but one have been here over 10 years,” he says. Not surprisingly, providing great customer service is an important factor to Dr. Kravitz and his staff. “We like to spend a lot of time with our patients,” he says. Dr. Kravitz says his patients come from “all over the Upper Valley,” and he happily accepts new patients.
Dr. Kravitz’s office is at 303 S. Route 5 in Norwich. Contact them at 802-649-2630, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.