Forty years ago, Gerald Ford was America’s president, Tom Salmon was Vermont’s governor, and ……on November 8, 1975, after some urging from her husband Don Milne, and a loan from Barre’s Granite Bank, Marion Milne opened a travel agency.
In a small office on Main Street in Barre, Vermont, Milne Travel was borne as a one-person, women-owned business. Milne Travel has grown since then, but has managed to retain the family concept that the company was founded upon.
Forty years later Milne Travel is still in the same store front on Main Street. Marion Milne passed away in 2014, but her spirit continues to inspire, and is the bedrockof the company.
As they enter their 41st year in Business, Milne Travel has grown into one of the largest travel companies in the Northeastern U.S. Milne Travel is a Vermont Corporation with eight office locations in New England and New York, corporate on-site locations in Texas, New York and New England, and employees working in eight states.
Milne Travel President, Scott Milne, ties the success of the company to its employees. "We are fortunate that our first employee was my grandmother. She had just retired as a special education teacher and came in “temporarily” to help my mom out by answering the phones over lunchtime. She ended up staying nearly 25 years and retired when she was almost ninety. She was great for our business, and Milne Travel was great for her- she enjoyed the work and clients enjoyed her. She got to see the world while she enjoyed a totally different second career.”
"I like to think that my grandmother, Catharine, set the tone of how we want to be at Milne; we are very grateful for each other's contributions, we try not to take each other's work for granted, and we have as much fun as we can along the way. “
As Milne has grown, it has evolved. They have weathered several industry storms, and sea changes in the way America does business that have forced many other travel companies to close their doors. While Milne has more than doubled its payroll and the number of branch offices it operates over the last few years, half of the agency locations in the U.S. have disappeared.
“When I joined Milne, I got some good advice from my parents” according to Scott Milne:
• Never get so “experienced” that you look at new ideas presented by people in the company through a filter of why they won’t work versus whether they are worth a try.
• My parents realized over twenty-five years ago that we needed to be part of a bigger company to provide our clients optimal services and products. This led to our affiliation with American Express in 1991- and has been a key driver of our growth and success. We expect new partnerships and collaborations in the future.
• As a multi-generational family business, I believe one of the smart things my parents did was the structure they created with the new generation – selling a small branch office to their son and having separate P+L’s and success incubators, as opposed to bringing family on as an employee. Although we were two companies from the beginning of becoming a multi-generational family business, we marketed to clients and negotiated with suppliers as though we were one company. This propelled entrepreneurial thinking on all sides, and it was a great strategy for the personal /family side of our family business. One of the last words from my dad when he handed my young wife and I the keys to our new business back in the ‘80’s was something along the lines of “you now owe us XX dollars, if it doesn’t work out and you can’t pay it back, that isn’t the end of the world…. but, don’t ask for any more money.” We knew the rules from day one.
Milne Travel's approach to customers is much the same as it was in 1975. Marion's philosophy-clients need to know we care, before they care what we know continues to guide Milne Travel in all areas of the business.
Today, Milne Travel is well positioned to be successful in the Worlds' largest industry- Travel. The company continues to grow in many areas and has made careful investments in people and new technologies to keep it that way.
Milne Travel is the largest American Express Travel Agency in the Northeastern United States with a healthy business mix:
• Managing travel bookings, travel expense reconciliations and global security programs for businesses, with a focus on reliable service, technology, benchmarking
• Travel planning for individual travelers relying on global knowledge of our travel counselors and our ability to obtain best values for our clients
• Meeting Planning and Incentive Travel management for businesses and organizations.
• Milne Educational Tours- working with school groups, customizing student travel tours and programs.
• Professional Sports and Team Travel
Milne Travel’s charitable fundraising division has assisted hundreds of non-profits and charitable organizations raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"In 2016 Milne Travel will launch Celebrating
Service ~ Celebrating Volunteers. This will celebrate volunteers in our communities, and Milne Travel’s 40 years of service. Milne Travel employees and our families will be inviting you to join us in serving the local communities and recognizing local volunteers. The program theme Celebrating Service ~ Celebrating Volunteers, is to recognize local volunteers for their service to the community."
"On behalf of our founders, and all of our people, past and present- Our last forty have been pretty special. Thank you for letting us be a part of your travel dreams...."
For assistance with travel, please call or visit your closest Milne Travel office, or visit us online at
325 Main Street • Barre, VT 05641
802-479-0541 • Fax: 802-479-0544
Year Founded: 1975
Customers need to know that you care, before they care what you know.
Top Executive: Scott Milne
Milne Travel Locations: Barre, South Burlington, and Middlebury, VT; West Lebanon, and Manchester, NH; Braintree, MA; White Plains, NY