Here’s why ‘People’ magazine features a Middletown woman in its latest issue

A buzz circulated on Facebook on Thursday night as local subscribers to “People” magazine saw a familiar face in its pages.

The feature is about local entrepreneur Ami Vitori, founder of Torchlight Pass, and her story of returning to Middletown and building her business that was the focus of a Starbucks “Upstanders” video last fall. The Starbucks series is a collection of 11 stories from across the nation to prove change can happen when community members take action.

Vitori’s “Upstanders” episode, entitled “Saving Middletown,” was a five-minute feature about the founding of Torchlight Pass and her move from a successful big-city career, as she tapped her retirement fund to rebuild her struggling Rust Belt hometown, according to Starbucks. The film also includes a number of Middletonians, such as J.D. Vance, Ken Cohen, Wilbur Cohen, Heather Gibson and Richard Isroff.

The one-page feature in “People” is in the Jan. 15 edition of the national magazine that will appear on newsstands this week.

Vitori, who began her first term on Middletown City Council this week, said “People” saw the Starbucks “Upstanders” video last fall and had reached out to her in mid-November.

She said friends who subscribe to the magazine saw it and have been tagging her in various social media posts.

“I’m psyched that Middletown is a positive national story,” Vitori said. “Getting another positive story about Middletown is exciting.”

She described the latest publicity as “an opportunity for Middletown.”

“It showcases the progress we’ve made and what still needs to be done,” Vitori said. “My approach to all of this is that I see challenges as opportunities.”

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