The dramatic success of the Blanchards is due in part to the diverse backgrounds of these married business partners. Raised in New York City, Melinda grew up cooking, often creating sumptuous and original culinary delights to serve at her mother’s social gatherings. Hundreds of miles away in Peacham, Vermont, her future husband was growing up surrounded by the richness of country themes and values. While Melinda was learning how to turn out the perfect soufflé, Bob was mastering fine carpentry and developing talents in art and merchandising learned from his father who tended Peacham’s General Store.
They met in college where they both studied Psychology. They married and began careers in social service. With their toddler son, Jesse, they settled in Norwich, Vermont and launched their first business venture – a retail store offering gourmet housewares and kitchen supplies. The business immediately flourished and made a profit. But after three years, the Blanchards yearned for the excitement of starting again. It became clear that they loved the challenge of creating new businesses more than the everyday operation once things were established.
Together, the Blanchards have created and run ten independent businesses from the ground up. While raising their son in Vermont, they launched several successful companies in areas of personal interest including toys, ski equipment, kitchen products and a multimillion dollar line of gourmet sauces and dressings called Blanchard & Blanchard & Son.
After decades of successful entrepreneurship and quiet New England living, Bob and Melinda decided to turn life upside down and inside out. They sold everything and moved to the tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla for the next step on their journey together. As lifestyle entrepreneurs, they embarked on another business venture in the form of a beautiful beachfront restaurant – the widely celebrated Blanchards Restaurant on Meads Bay in Anguilla.
The Blanchards’ first book, A Trip to the Beach, documented the obstacles and rewards they encountered while moving to the Caribbean. The bestselling, inspirational travel essay motivated thousands to send letters and e-mails asking the Blanchards for advice on following their own dreams. Bob and Melinda are also authors of At Blanchards Table, a cookbook filled with recipes and photos from their beloved Anguilla as well as a few from their previous life in Vermont
Our staff plays a vital role in making Blanchards what it is today. To show our appreciation for the many years together, we planned a surprise team training at Disney World in 2017. One month before our trip, Hurricane Irma hit the island, and all of our planning came to a screeching halt as we turned our focus to assist the people of Anguilla. We were close to cancelling, but decided in the wake of such devistation a trip off the Island was exactly what our staff needed. After 4 weeks with no electricity, limited food and all the discomfort and difficulties as a result of Irma, we enjoy a week in Orlando with the Blanchard’s team!
We’re fortunate to have our son Jesse’s art gracing the walls in Blanchards. Jesse and his family live in Santa Fe, NM. Jesse is represented at one of Santa Fe’s most prestigious art galleries, Selby Fleetwood Gallery. To learn more and see additional works please visit his website: www.jesseblanchard.com