Montpelier, VT - The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has approved $9.3 million in loans to help support commercial, agricultural, energy and small business projects throughout Vermont.
“With the help of VEDA financing, several companies are enhancing their production capabilities, a technology firm is expanding, and renewable energy projects are being developed,” said Jo Bradley, VEDA’s Chief Executive Officer. “In addition, $5.4 million was approved in agricultural loans to help farms diversify, and to help dairy farmers counter the effects of several years of low milk prices.”
A total of $2.2 million in VEDA direct commercial financing was approved for several projects through the Authority’s Small Business Loan Program, Entrepreneurial Loan Program, and Windham County Economic Development Program. Approved projects include:
• Trapp Family Lodge, Inc., Stowe – Partial financing of $409,850 was approved to help von Trapp Brewing, a division of the internationally-known Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, purchase a canning line, additional fermenters, and brite tanks. Since 2015, when a new brewhouse and Bierhall were constructed at the 2,500-acre, 96-room resort made famous by the movie, “The Sound of Music,” von Trapp Brewing has been brewing its own beer. This machinery and equipment expansion project will increase the 50,000-barrel brewery’s flexibility in canning its beer to meet product demand. The Union Bank is also providing financing for the project;
• Mocha Joe’s Roasting Company, Inc., Brattleboro – Partial financing of $350,000 was approved to help a Brattleboro-based coffee roasting company purchase and put back into productive use a large empty commercial building on Frost Street. The 19,262-square foot building on .69 acres will become the new operating facility for Mocha Joe’s Roasting Company; the company will continue to operate Mocha Joe’s Café at its present Main Street location. Established in 1994, Mocha Joe’s is a full-service coffee company, retailing and wholesaling fresh, high-quality certified Organic, Fair Trade, and Rainforest Alliance roasted coffee beans. The company has outgrown its current location, and the new larger facility will expand its storage capacity and increase operational efficiencies. The company has 7 employees, a number expected to grow to 11 within three years of the project. Brattleboro Savings and Loan also provided financing for Mocha Joe’s expansion;
• Greensea Systems, In., Richmond – VEDA approved a $250,000 working capital loan to Greensea Systems, developer of leading robotic technologies and software for the marine industry. Founded in 2006, Greensea has developed a superior integrated navigation system for manned and unmanned surface and subsea vehicles and vessels. The company is experiencing aggressive growth, selling to top-tier equipment manufacturers who have adopted Greensea’s technologies for their underwater vehicle products. The project will consist of fit-up of additional office space for several new engineers, as well as patent and component materials expenditures. Greensea now has 23 employees; that number is projected to increase to 40 within three years of the project;
• The Grass Gauchos, LLC, Colchester – VEDA approved partial financing of $241,200 to help a landscaping and maintenance services company purchase the property which they currently lease and construct a new warehouse/office building there. The expanded property will enable The Grass Gauchos to grow their business, which offers stonework, lawn installation, and garden design services, as well as snow removal, mowing and pruning services for residential, commercial and municipal clients. Community Bank, NA is also providing financing for the project. Started in 2007, the company has 12 employees, a number expected to almost double within three years of the expansion project; and
• Skinny Pancake, Inc., Burlington – A $66,000 loan was approved by VEDA as partial financing for Skinny Pancake’s purchase of a commercial building on Archibald Street in Burlington. Additional financing is being provided by Union Bank for the purchase. Skinny Pancake’s new 3,261-square foot building will offer the company additional office space and storage, as well as the capacity for future expansion. Started in 2003 as a food cart on Church Street in Burlington, Skinny Pancake today has several restaurants in Vermont and New Hampshire, serving its well-known crepes and many locally-sourced foods. The company has as many as 325 employees at the peak of summer.
Financings totaling $5.4 million were approved through the Authority’s agricultural loan program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC). Included among the approvals is:
• The Lambert Farm, Washington – Financing of $141,000 was approved to enable farmers Jesse and Jennifer Lambert to further diversify their productive organic dairy farm business by starting a goat dairy. They will lease a nearby farm property for the purpose, purchase a herd of goats, buy new milking stanchions, and make the required parlor upgrades to accommodate the new does. Since 2010, the Lamberts have operated a 152-acre organic dairy farm, which they purchased from family in 2013. Since then, they have made many improvements to the farm, now milking 120 cows with the help of robotic milking units. They also run a well-equipped custom harvesting operation, focused on forage harvesting and manure spreading for their own farm, and for other local dairies and businesses. With a ready buyer for their goat milk in place, the Lamberts plan to grow their goat dairy to at least 400 goats within three years.
Energy financing of nearly $1.4 million was approved for several commercial solar energy installation projects which together are estimated to produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 142.5 average households, and reduce CO2 emissions by 570 tons each year. Approved financings include:
• New Haven GLC Solar, LLC, New Haven – $1.2 million for the purpose of operating a group net-metered 500 kW solar array that is already online, located on 3.4 acres of land in New Haven. Sugarbush Resort will be the off-taker of electricity from the project; and
• Sean & Danica Rolfe, Lyndonville – $139,444 to construct a 55 kW AC solar array on the rooftop of a commercial building in Lyndonville. The net-metering credits will be used by the building owners to offset utility bills they pay for their tenants.
In addition, $200,000 in financing was approved through the Authority’s Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund, which provides funds to repair or improve existing privately-owned drinking water systems.
A $100,000 SBA Community Advantage working capital loan was approved for Vermont Tree Goods, LLC in Bristol through Authority’s Vermont 504 Corporation. Vermont Tree Goods recycles unwanted logs from large heritage trees and transforms them into beautiful specialty lumber, millwork and furniture. Utilizing raw material that is typically part of the waste stream and an innovative sawmill designed by the company’s owner, Vermont Tree Goods is able to produce live-edge lumber in an efficient manner that requires less energy and produces a superior piece of lumber that is flatter, smoother, straighter, and requires less finishing. Vermont Tree Goods’ products are sold in Vermont and out of state through multiple distribution channels, including online, wholesale and retail sales.
The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) is Vermont's economic development finance lender. Created by the Vermont General Assembly in 1974, VEDA's mission is "to contribute to the creation and retention of quality jobs in Vermont by providing loans and other financial support to eligible and qualified Vermont industrial, commercial and agricultural enterprises."
VEDA offers a wide range of low-cost lending options for Vermont businesses and farms of all sizes, and the Authority's lending solutions are customized to each borrower's individual needs. Whether in the form of direct loans, tax-exempt bond issuance or loan guarantee support, VEDA's innovative financing programs help ensure that Vermont businesses and farms have the capital they need to grow and succeed. VEDA most often lends in conjunction with banks and other financing partners, helping to stimulate economic development activity in Vermont.
Since inception, VEDA has provided over $2.49 billion in financing assistance to thousands of eligible Vermont entrepreneurs, manufacturers, small businesses, family farms, and agricultural enterprises.
VEDA has five offices throughout Vermont - in Montpelier, Burlington, Middlebury, St. Johnsbury and Brattleboro. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org or call 802-828-JOBS.