The Vermont Community Loan Fund (VCLF) loaned $3,259,000 in 2014. For the 28th year, our mission-driven, community-focused lending helped bolster Vermont's economy and led to the creation or preservation of jobs, high-quality early care & education, safe and affordable homes and essential services for hundreds of Vermonters.
Projects newly financed in 2014 include:
Addison County Community Trust, Middlebury
ACCT creates and maintains affordable housing for lower-income Vermonters in Addison County. In 2011, they acquired a property on Washington Street Extension in Middlebury, currently under development to create 12 new affordable senior homes. This latest VCLF loan will finance their acquisition and of an adjacent property for future development. addisontrust.org
Bella Farm, Monkton
Bella Farm, an organic farmer and producer of dairy- and nut-free pesto, used VLCF financing to purchase seeds and cover miscellaneous expenses until product sales begin, post-winter. The farm was initially referred to VCLF by The Carrot Project, which conducts outreach and screens applicants that need farm business loan financing. The loan resulted in the preservation of two jobs. bellapesto.com
Berry Patch Holistic Childcare, Moretown
Berry Patch will be a for-profit, full-day, year-round, home-based child care program for children ages six weeks to 12 years. They’ll focus on a holistic approach to learning, with a curriculum including yoga, meditation, environmental awareness, music, art and more. Berry Patch is using a VCLF loan cover start-up costs including the transformation of their walk-in basement into space for child care. The loan has resulted in 11 new child care slots and will create two new jobs.
Bridport Creamery, Bridport
This start-up, artisanal cheese maker came to the Loan Fund via the Carrot Project. They used VCLF funding to purchase cheese making equipment and to cover other costs relating to the expansion of their product line. The loan resulted in the preservation of two jobs. bridportcreamery.com
Bristol Family Center, Bristol (2 loans)
A nonprofit, STARS-rated early care and education program, Bristol Family Center is also a special services provider, coordinating care and support services with area agencies. They used VCLF financing to renovate their kitchen, offices, outdoor play spaces and more. This loan preserves quality care for 51 children and the creation of seven new child care slots, as well as the retention of eleven jobs. bristolfamilycenter.org
Catamount Glassware, Bennington (2 loans)
Catamount Glassware manufactures their own line of high-quality cookware and barware, in addition to custom screening and engraving glass products for other clients. Now, they’re launching a retail store and taproom, where customers can purchase Vermont craft beers in Catamount glass growlers. VCLF will help finance the expansion. The loan preserves 22 jobs. catamountglass.com
Chester House Inn, Chester
The Chester House Inn, a circa 1780 bed and breakfast in downtown Chester, is listed on the National Register of Historic places. Their VCLF loan was used to refinance their mortgage, resulting in the preservation of three jobs. chesterhouseinn.com
D’s Market & Deli, Bennington
D’s Market and Deli, a small market and delicatessen, used a VCLF loan to purchase the building which the business has occupied since starting up in 2012. The loan resulted in the preservation of four jobs.
Danforth Pewterers, Middlebury
Danforth Pewterers designs and manufactures fine pewter jewelry, home accessories and gifts which are sold through retail stores in Vermont, online and at approximately 700 independent gift stores nationwide. The colonial-era Danforth name and business was revived by current owners and family members Judi and Fred Danforth in 1975. They will use VCLF financing to pay off an investor loan. danforthpewter.com
Grand Isle HLP, Grand Isle
Grand Isle Housing works with Housing Vermont and the Champlain Housing Trust to provide permanently affordable housing for families in Grand Isle. They came to VCLF to refinance outstanding loans, improving their cash flow, preserve 16 affordable homes and free up capital to do more of their important work.
High Mowing Organic Seeds, Wolcott
The U.S.’s premier purveyor of organic and heirloom seeds, High Mowing Seeds has grown significantly since first borrowing from VCLF more than a decade ago. Late last year, they approached VCLF for help financing their expansion into Whole Foods Markets and other retail outlets in the Pacific Northwest. The loan will help preserve 51 jobs. highmowingseeds.com
Hollister Hill Farm, Marshfield (2 loans)
Bob and Lee Light bought Hollister Hill Farm in 1983 and milked cows there for 15 years, until they sold their herd and converted their home to an agri-tourism B&B where guests can experience life on a working farm. The Lights operate a farm store selling beefalo, pork, eggs, chickens, turkeys, maple syrup and honey - all raised or processed on-site. Hollister Hill Farm has been a VCLF borrower for many years; they’ll use this most recent loan to finance improvements to the B&B. hollisterhillfarm.com
Kettle Song Farm, Worcester
Kettle Song Farm, a 65-acre vegetable farm, will use VCLF financing to purchase equipment, as well as additional materials to enrich their soil. The operation currently includes consists of a 2,160 square foot high tunnel, an irrigation pond, a drilled well, and a mule shed, and four tilled and cover-cropped acres, two of which will be planted in 2014 with a mix of vegetables. Kettle Song came to VCLF via The Carrot Project (thecarrotproject.org), which helps smaller food producers find financing. The loan resulted in the preservation of one job.
Liquid Glass, Lyndonville (2 loans)
Liquid Glass, designers and manufacturers of glass body jewelry, used VCLF financing make necessary upgrades and improvements to the building they occupy. The loans helps preserve five full-time jobs. www.liquid-glass.com
Living Well Community Care Home, Bristol and Burlington
Vermont will soon become the seventh “oldest” state, given our rapidly rising median age. This aging creates a critical need for facilities like Living Well Community Care Home, a nonprofit residential care and assisted living care organization with facilities in Bristol and Burlington providing care for 49 seniors and support services jobs for13 Vermonters. Living Well opened an operating line of credit account with VCLF this year. livingwellcarehome.org
Maiden Lane, Burlington
In Burlington’s historic Old North End, housing is scarce, and affordable housing even scarcer: the long-term vacancy rate averages 1%. The mixed-use development currently underway on Maiden Lane will include four new affordable homes and create 31 construction jobs.
Megan’s Childcare, Danville
To expand her full-day, year-round child care facility, owner Megan Bunnell determined to relocate her home-based program from her residence in Danville to a larger structure in nearby Passumpsic, a town without child care programs. In so doing, Bunnell grew her program’s size from ten children to 31, and added four full-time employees, and one part-time. The new program will participate in the federal subsidized healthy foods program and the state’s STARS child care quality rating system. This VCLF loan will be used to fit up the new space with two new classrooms, new lighting and flooring, a new bathroom and fire alarm system.
Miss Martha’s Creative Learning, Vernon
Miss Martha’s, used a VCLF loan to renovate the facility’s bathroom. The loan resulted in the preservation of all six child care slots, and the retention of one full-time job.
North Branch Vineyards, Montpelier
North Branch Vineyards, an award-winning winery, used a VCLF loan to cover expenses during their slower sales period. The company buys grapes from several Vermont growers and has increased sales and production steadily since first borrowing from the Loan Fund in 2011. The loan led to the preservation of one full-time job. northbranchvineyards.com
Off the Beaten Trail, Newark
The Burke Mountain resort area brings tourists in search of care and boarding for their dogs, providing a niche for this start-up kennel and doggie daycare business. Owner Jeff Scarpino is using a VCLF loan to add kennels, fencing, signage and equipment.
Red Doors Children’s Center, Sutton
A full-day, full-year, program serving up to 20 children, Red Doors first came to VCLF three years ago for help renovating their facility. Red Doors requested a new loan in 2014 to finance continued improvements and new equipment, toys and supplies needed to upgrade their STARS program quality rating to four (out of five) stars.
Rollo Cedar Sawmill of Vermont, Swanton (2 loans)
RCSV buys cedar logs from local area loggers and custom mills them into rough cut lumber, panels, furniture, shavings and sawdust for businesses and consumers. They used one of two VCLF loans to purchase logs to fulfill purchase orders where deposits are not received; a second loan was used to purchase additional inventory. The loans resulted in the preservation of one job. cedarsawmillofvt.com
Saint Johnsbury Automobile Company, St. Johnsbury
Late last year, VCLF took over management of a revolving loan fund previously housed at the now-defunct Economic Development Fund of Northern VT. This EDFNV loan helped St. Jay Auto renovate and expand their facility and has resulted in the retention of 28 Northeast Kingdom jobs and the creation of 49 new ones. stjauto.com
Schoolhouse Learning Center, South Burlington
The Schoolhouse Learning Center, a nonprofit, cooperative, licensed child care center and State of Vermont approved elementary school, used a VCLF loan for kitchen renovations which now enable them to serve hot meals through the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Additional renovations also allowed for an expansion of their preschool program. The loan resulted in 99 child care slots and 12 child care jobs created or preserved.
Seymour Lake Market, Morgan
This general store in Morgan serves the local community with groceries and sundries. This loan, formerly of the EDFNV, provided financing for facility improvements and start-up costs, dating back to the store’s opening. The loan resulted in the preservation of one full-time job.
Spring Hill School, Waitsfield
Spring Hill School, a nonprofit, full-day, year-round early education program, has been located in the same building since its inception over 40 years ago. When another of the building’s tenants left recently, Spring Hill saw the opportunity to expand their space and capacity to serve more of the area’s families. They’ll use a VCLF loan to fit up the expanded space, a library, a kitchen and break room, upgrade a bathroom, lighting, install a fire alarm system, make roof repairs and repaint. The additional space will grow the number of children served from 36 to 45. springhillschoolvt.org
SunCommon makes solar energy affordable and attainable, even for homes where a residential installation isn’t optimal. SunCommon has pioneered the idea of “group net metering” in Vermont, where the electricity generated by a collectively owned array is credited to an assigned collaborative of utility customers. SunCommon used VCLF financing to install two new group net metering arrays in Waltham and another additional location. suncommon.com
Vermont Bean Crafters, Waitsfield (2 loans)
VBC came to the Loan Fund via the Carrot Project, which links small New England agricultural enterprises with financing. VBC makes a variety of bean-based products sold at both retail and wholesale. They also work with Vermont and New York farmers to buy and sell wholesale beans, and provide catering services. They used one of two VCLF loans to purchase beans and other ingredients; a second loan was used for purchase of additional culinary equipment. The loans helped create one new job and preserve five jobs. vermontbeancrafters.com
W.R. Vilas, Burlington
W.R. Vilas, housing developers, used VCLF financing to acquire and renovate two blighted properties in Burlington’s Old North End, creating Silversmith Commons housing. Silversmith will include three permanently affordable rental apartments, as well as a large retail space – as part of the City of Burlington’s initiative to reinvigorate the area’s commercial corridor. The loan also resulted in the creation of 24 construction jobs.
Wild Wood Vermont, Hinesburg
Wild Wood Vermont custom creates high-quality wooden travel mugs with stainless steel liners. They’ll use a VCLF loan to purchase the stainless liners in bulk. Recently, they began purchasing wood from another VCLF borrower –Rollo Cedar Sawmill of Vermont. etsy.com/shop/WildWoodVermont
Wheelock Village Store, Wheelock
This general store serves the local community with groceries, gasoline, grain and more. Their loan, which was used to purchase inventory, was acquired by VCLF in 2014 from the now-defunct Economic Development Fund of Northern VT, preserving two full-time jobs.