This periodic series of three images and responses to questions tells the stories of people of the Valley who love what they do.  As Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.”



This month features Yvonne Fugate, chief toy Officer and owner, The Collection, Waitsfield, Vermont.

How long have you lived in Vermont and where did you grow up?

We moved full time to The Valley in 1996 from Frederick, Marylland.  I grew up in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

 I never really zeroed in on any one thing I wanted to “be.” Looking back the one thing they all had in common was being a “helper.”

What was your first job and how did you get it?

My first job was in the family travel business.  At age thirteen I was booking customers on flights and making hotel reservations - easy peasy! Working in a family business for your Mom, not always so easy!

Who was the biggest influence in your decision to choose the work you now do?

My husband Tom was actually the largest influence in my being a business owner in The Mad River Valley.  Tom quickly decided that we should purchase The Collection.  I had way more questions and doubts about owning a new business - he saw it as a perfect opportunity as we relocated our lives.


What is the best job advice that you’ve ever received?

Best job advice is the work ethic my Mom as a family business owner handed down to me. 

What are you most grateful for in your life?

I am most grateful for is to be where I am right now and to have the opportunity to do what I love to do in my community. 

How do you give back?

Beyond the donations for local schools and organizations, I personally try to give back by sharing the importance of the power of play for everyone of every age. We need more play to grow a resilient and healthy society! 

What do you do in your free time?

As for down time I am a homebody. In my free time I love snuggling with a pug in front of the TV or putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

Do you have a favorite quote that you live by? 

No favorite quote but I do know gratitude is definitely the first step toward joy. And I feel truly grateful to get to do what I love in a community I love being part of! 

A special ‘thank you” to customers Susan Rouleau and Laura Viens for allowing me to take these photographs while they spent some time with Yvonne learning about toys. 

To suggest someone who “Loves What They Do ”, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.