Meet local individuals making their mark on Cape CodBy Lisa Leigh Connors | Photography by Dan Cutrona
Founder and Owner, Cape Cloth
Now in his third year as owner of Cape Cloth, Sean Fitzpatrick went from having just four designs of caps to producing soft and stylish sweatshirts and T-shirts, winter hats, baby clothes and dog collars.
“When people tell me they wear one of my sweatshirts 10 times more than any other thing, it’s the best compliment you can get,” says Fitzpatrick, during an interview at Kaleidoscope Imprints in West Yarmouth, a screenprinting and embroidery company for his apparel.
Since launching Cape Cloth in October 2014, Fitzpatrick has learned a lot about himself and about the value of community, family and friendship. When Cape Cloth was in its infancy, he faced a 15-month legal battle with an international athletic company over his distinctive logo, a “modernized” version of Cape Cod. The two reached an amicable agreement, and with this challenge behind him, Fitzpatrick says, “2017 is the year that I envisioned having right away,” in the sense that he can now focus on just his business and not the “extra-curricular stuff.” To set himself apart, Dennis native Fitzpatrick (also known as “Fitzy”) writes personal notes enclosed with each order. “I will sit there for a half-hour writing one-liners to people because it makes a difference,” says Fitzgerald, who gave the keynote address at the Cape Cod Young Professionals’ first annual Shape Your Cape Summit in May 2016. The Dennis resident is among a growing number of entrepreneurs on the Cape who are making a difference and giving back to their community. For every item sold, he donates $1 to Cape Abilities.
Cape Cloth apparel is available at Cape Abilities Farm, 458 Route 6A, Dennis, 508-385-2538 and Cranberry Valley Golf Course, 183 Oak St., Harwich, 508-430-5234.
When Gary and Jeff Tulman visited Pairpoint a couple of years ago, they weren’t looking to buy a glass company. The brothers, who have private equity backgrounds in both real estate and turnarounds, were asked to reposition the property and liquidate the struggling company. But when they learned about Pairpoint’s rich history and met the talented artisans at America’s oldest glass company—founded in 1837—they became intrigued and started to see the potential of revitalizing the high-end brand.
“For Gary and me, it’s a big blank canvas,” says Jeff, above right, during an interview in the factory’s “hot shop,” where artisans are busy at work. Since buying the business, they have relaunched Pairpoint’s one-of-a-kind signature bubble doorknobs and created custom chandeliers for a New York casino. Their long-term plans include redesigning and renovating the showroom, giving the front and back exteriors a facelift, upgrading the manufacturing facility and adding a café with a direct water view of the Cape Cod Canal. Their ultimate goal: Adding a Cape Cod Central Railroad stop at Pairpoint since tracks run behind the back of the building. The railroad carries 125,000 passengers annually on dinner trains and scenic tours, and they hope to turn Pairpoint into a destination and experience for visitors. By this spring and summer, visitors will begin to see physical changes, says Gary, who grew up outside of Boston with his brother and spent summers on the Cape. Pairpoint pieces are sold at the Sagamore factory as well as at Tiffany & Co. and Shreve, Crump & Low. You’ll also find collections on display at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Pairpoint, 851 Sandwich Road, Sagamore, 508-888-2344
“There is wonderful food on Cape Cod,” says Jason Montigel, the chef/owner at Clean Slate Eatery, who has worked at restaurants on the Cape and Nantucket. “We are just doing something a little bit different.” Inside the modern, 16-seat fine-dining restaurant, which opened last spring, diners can enjoy six small courses plated on a stainless steel table in front of them by Montigel and his staff. Entrees range from day boat scallops on top of ricotta cavatelli and charred ramps (wild onions) to New England redfish with charred shishito red peppers. The menu is inspired by what’s available at local farms, including Cape Abilities in Dennis and Chatham Bars Inn farm, located on Route 6A in Brewster. Diners will never see the same menu twice. In 2017, Montigel plans to open a food trailer called Staff Meal Trailer, with the goal of serving breakfast sandwiches all day. “We’re definitely not standing still with just the restaurant,” says Georgia native Montigel, who says the trailer will be parked at the restaurant. “Clean Slate is about community more than anything else,” says Montigel. “It’s about people breaking bread together, forgetting about the troubles of the world. Everybody has opinions, but at the end of the day, everybody needs to eat, everybody needs to relax and everybody needs to enjoy each other.”
Clean Slate Eatery, 702 Main St., Dennis, 508-292-8817
When Mark Abbott accepted the position of president and director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution more than a year ago, he became the 10th director in the organization’s 85-year history. He succeeded Susan Avery, who served from 2008 to 2015. Abbott, a nationally recognized earth scientist and former dean of Oregon State University, says his overall vision for WHOI is “persistent innovation.”
Born and raised in Palo Alto, California, the epicenter of Silicon Valley, Abbott says it was an incredible opportunity to step into a high-profile role at WHOI, known as the pinnacle in the marine science field worldwide. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation recently awarded WHOI a $250,000 seed grant. This will allow scientists to study a new path for oceaCn research and ultimately bring rapid technology to the ocean instrumentation world. One project Abbott is excited about includes a new partnership with NASA and its jet-propulsion lab, Ocean Worlds, which will examine oceans and other bodies in the solar system. His long-term goal, however, includes rebuilding the waterfront. “What distinguishes WHOI from a lot of places is that we are right on the ocean,” says Abbott. So why is studying the ocean so important? “We are the ocean planet,” says Abbott. “Most of our oxygen comes from the ocean. An increasing amount of food comes from the ocean. It drives our weather and climate. It’s changing. We are seeing less sea ice in the arctic, warmer temperatures in the Gulf of Maine. The more we understand, the better we can respond and manage.”
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 266 Woods Hole Road, Woods Hole, 508-548-1400
Founder, Flower Angels USA
Suzanne Carter retired several years ago, but today she is working harder than ever. She founded Flower Angels USA in 2014, and now works seven days a week at the nonprofit 5013c organization.
As the former owner of several Curves For Women fitness franchises on the Cape and a whale watch company, Carter started the organization in honor of her mother. Carter would visit her every day at a nursing home in Provincetown and realized other patients never had any visitors. She now oversees more than 100 volunteers, answers emails from brides who want to donate flowers and “spreads a whole lotta love” to patients in nursing homes and hospice care across the Cape. “Flower Angels has become a mission of love for people who have been abandoned by society,” says Carter, while standing in a room bustling with activity at their South Yarmouth location. Flower Angels receives donated flowers from Trader Joe’s, Shaw’s, brides and the Lower Cape Flower Garden, a group in Brewster. Flower Angels volunteers then toss the wilted or dead ones into a compost pile and organize the flowers by color. The design team comes along and creates bouquets featuring carnations, roses, mums, berries and greens in teacups and mugs—the perfect size for a bedside table. About 250 bouquets are delivered weekly to patients who rarely—or never—see a visitor. As of last November, the organization has delivered more than 21,000 bouquets since May 2014. “We are a little bit of sunshine,” says Carter, who also works with her special-needs daughter, Mara Schusterman, at Flower Angels. “It’s a few moments of kindness.”
Flower Angels USA, 851 Route 28, Unit 3, South Yarmouth. To inquire about volunteering or donating flowers, contact Suzanne Carter at 508-280-9869 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLÃ DA BOSSA NOVA
Tad Price, Founder/guitar player
Rayssa Ribeiro, vocals
Michael Dunford, percussion
Susan Goldberg, bass
Ten years ago, musician Tad Price fell in love with the romanticism and subtle rhythms of Brazilian music. “I had faith in the music that it would seduce others like it did me,” says Price, who has played in bands around the Cape for about 25 years, including with Kami Lyle, the Rip-It-Ups and Sarah Burrill.
So several years ago, he set out to form a bossa nova band. But it wasn’t until 2014 when he met Brazilian-born singer Rayssa Ribeiro during a live radio show on WOMR in Provincetown that his dream came to fruition. “Rayssa was really the key,” says Price, who says he first heard Brazilian music as a teenager when he bought Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66. Each band member is passionate about samba and bossa nova songs, but most have day jobs: Ribeiro works in Cambridge in the bio-tech field; Price specializes in home remodeling on the Lower Cape; percussionist Michael Dunford works in banking; and Susan Goldberg plays music full-time. “My personal goal,” says Price, “is to bring people together with the music.” The band has been connecting with the local Brazilian community at the annual Brazilian Cultural Festival every September at Cotuit Center for the Arts. Clã Da Bossa Nova plays all over the Cape, including The Red Inn’s Sunday brunch in Provincetown and the Cultural Center of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth. They also perform the first Sunday of every month at Harvest Gallery Wine Bar in Dennis.
Ken Weber is a longtime Falmouth resident who has worked in the corporate world for NStar and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Alyssa Horton, also a Falmouth resident, started her career as a residential aide at a detox center. Their paths crossed while they were both attending a recovery program in Falmouth. When Weber, who has been sober for more than 24 years and in long-term recovery, started thinking about starting a center to help drug-dependent individuals, he reached out to Horton for her sober coaching and detox experiences.
After spending a year researching treatments and various models across the country, Weber opened Recovering Champions two years ago and Horton followed. Since then, the clinic has treated more than 275 clients for addiction. Recovering Champions uses a holistic approach and offers 12-step meetings, one-on-one instruction, art, music and wellness activities such as yoga and meditation. The program also encourages a healthy lifestyle by serving three organic meals a day and teaching clients how to have “sober fun” while at a wedding or party.
“Addiction told me I was useless,” says Horton. “Ken is giving me an opportunity to be innovative and give our clients the best care possible to let them gain recovery and build a life [for themselves] and their families. I am pretty blessed.” In addition to its Falmouth location, Recovering Champions also has a wellness lodge in Sandwich.
Recovering Champions Treatment Center, 279 Brick Kiln Road, East Falmouth, 844-888-5391
Principal, Hyannis West Elementary School
Kathi Amato’s advice for poorly performing schools: “Don’t ever give up! Real change will take time, so it’s important to be patient.” Amato, a longtime teacher at Hyannis West, speaks from experience. When Amato stepped into the role of principal in 2011—the eighth principal at Hyannis West in six years—she faced low staff morale and declining test scores. The K-3 school also has unique demographics: 85 percent of the 360 students are on free or reduced lunch, 40 percent are English-language learners and 11 percent are homeless. Another challenge for Amato is the high transient population—150 to 200 students are entering or leaving the school every year. Despite these challenges, Amato wanted to prove she could turn things around.
Over the last five years, Amato has tried a variety of approaches, mostly involving pull-out interventions. “What we found when we looked at our academic data,” says Amato, “was that pulling students out of core instruction for intervention actually widened the gaps!” But after Hyannis West implemented Chicopee’s successful push-in model (extra reading and math support from specialists inside the classroom), Amato and her staff started seeing impressive gains: The PARCC exam results from the spring of 2016 showed 57 percent of third graders as proficient or advanced (a 19 percent jump over the previous year). The state has since designated Hyannis West as a level one (or top tier) school. They also received special recognition from state education officials for narrowing achievement gaps. Amato gives full credit to her staff for the successful turnaround. “I drive the bus, but it’s the people on it that make it successful.”
Hyannis West Elementary School, 549 West Main St., Hyannis, 508-790-6480