Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has approved $7.1 million in economic development financings, supporting manufacturing, agricultural, energy and small business projects throughout Vermont. Among the projects included are: a $1.5 million loan to Chroma Technology Corporation; loans totaling $999,400 for Olivia's Crouton Company; financing of $294,176 for Rhino Foods; financing of $128,500 for Flex-A-Seal, Inc; and $691,018 to partially finance the purchase of five turnkey solar projects totaling 484 kW for Bove Brothers.
"VEDA is pleased to be making financing investments in Vermont's manufacturing sector, where new jobs for Vermonters will be created," said VEDA Chief Executive Officer Jo Bradley. "In addition, the Authority is pleased to provide financing to help start-up businesses grow, farmers strengthen their operations, and sustainable energy projects go forward."
Projects approved by VEDA for financing assistance include:
* Chroma Technology Corp., Bellows Falls - VEDA approved a $1.5 million loan to Chroma Technology Corporation as part of the company's planned $21.7 million expansion in Bellows Falls. Founded in 1991, Chroma is an employee-owned company of 129 people (120 of those Vermont-based) producing high-performance optical filters for the world's leading microscope manufacturers, life sciences analytics instruments, science and research laboratories, and other optical equipment applications. Chroma has reached its production capacity at its Rockingham facility, requiring a 25,000 square foot expansion, and the purchase of new machinery and equipment, to accommodate changing and expanding needs in the manufacturing processes. People's United Bank is also providing financing for the project, as is US Bankcorp Community Development Corporation, the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation and the Town of Rockingham. Additionally, a Community Development Block Grant and New Market Tax Credits issued through Housing Vermont/Vermont Rural Ventures and Massachusetts Housing Corporation will be utilized to fund the project. Chroma expects to add fifteen additional jobs within two years of project completion, and 28 new jobs within five years.
* Olivia's Holdings, LLC and Olivia's Crouton Co., Inc, Brandon - Loans totaling $999,400 were approved to help Olivia's Crouton Company meet growing production demands through the purchase and renovation of a 36,000 square foot existing manufacturing facility on eleven acres in Brandon. New equipment purchases will also be part of the now $2.75 million expansion plan, for which the National Bank of Middlebury is providing additional financing support. Begun in 1991, Olivia's Crouton Company produces wholesome homemade-style bread croutons known by retail customers and food service professionals alike for the products' uniqueness and high quality. Over the past 25 years, the company has grown from a home kitchen operation to its present dual locations -- a 4,500 square foot converted barn in New Haven and an additional 5,000 square feet of leased space in Middlebury. The new project facility will allow Olivia's to expand its product offerings, and increase its co-packing capabilities with other Vermont brands, as well. In addition to VEDA and bank financing, $150,000 of the project will be financed by Rutland Economic Development Corp. and $70,000 by the Brandon Revolving Loan Fund. Olivia's Crouton Company has seven employees, a number expected to grow to 18 within three years of the expansion project.
* Rhino Foods, Inc., Burlington - Financing of $294,176 was approved to help Rhino Foods purchase new machinery and equipment and make process and packaging improvements at the company's Industrial Avenue manufacturing facility. People's United Bank is also providing financing for the project. Rhino is now the number one manufacturer of cookie dough and other ice cream add-in products in the U.S., supplying since 1981 the ice cream and commercial food service industry with inclusion and mix-in products for frozen desserts, such as baked cakes, brownies and other foods. The company currently has 122 employees, a number expected to increase to 135 within three years of the project.
* Flex-A-Seal, Inc., Essex Junction - Financing of $128,500 was approved to help Flex-A-Seal, Inc purchase the property adjacent to the company's existing manufacturing facility. Flex-A-Seal will use the new space for office, warehouse and light manufacturing. Additionally, the space offers Flex-A-Seal future growth options should a manufacturing expansion be required to meet increase in demand for its products. Established in 1983, Flex-A-Seal produces many types of sealing products used in industries including hydrocarbon processing, chemical and food processing, potable water, and drug manufacturing. Flex-A-Seal employs 101 persons, a number expected to grow within three years to 116. People's United Bank is also providing financing for the project.
Agricultural loans totaling $1.4 million also were approved through the Authority's agricultural loan program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC), which provides financing for Vermont farmers, agricultural facilities and forest product businesses.
VEDA also approved financing for several businesses through the SBA's Community Advantage Program, which enables the Authority to secure guarantees on smaller loans. Among the Community Advantage financing approvals are:
* Shacksbury Holdings, Inc. of Middlebury was approved for a $150,000 loan to partially fund the purchase of machinery and equipment for, and leasehold improvements to, its new hard cider processing, bottling and tasting facility to be located in a portion of the former Kennedy Brothers building in Vergennes. The financing will also provide the company with working capital for the fit-up of the space. Established in 2013, Shacksbury Holdings imports and produces premium hard cider that is marketed through leading beverage distributors in twelve states in the U.S., and in two Canadian provinces. In addition to the VEDA financing, Shacksbury Holdings will also receive financing from the Addison County Economic Development Corporation, and a grant from the Vermont Regional Economic Development Program; and
* Vermont Tree Goods, LLC of Bristol was approved for a $50,000 working capital loan to help a start-up specialty lumber mill and producer of "live edge" wood furniture grow his business. Utilizing a custom-designed sawmill that reduces the environmental impact of milling, Vermont Tree Goods efficiently recycles unwanted logs from large heritage trees and transforms them into high-quality specialty lumber, millwork and furniture. Vermont Tree Goods' furniture products are sold in and outside Vermont through multiple distribution channels.
Energy Financing of $1.09 million was approved for several commercial and agricultural solar energy installation projects which together will produce enough renewable electricity to power the equivalent of 147 average households, and reduce CO2 emissions by 578 tons each year. Approved financings include:
Bove Brothers Solar, LLC -$691,018 to partially finance the purchase of five turnkey solar projects totaling 484 kW to be constructed at commercial, mixed-use and multi-family investment properties owned by Rick and Mark Bove in Chittenden and Franklin counties;
Bennington Sheriff GLC Solar, LLC, Bennington -- $251,393 to partially finance a group net-metered 150 kW solar array on one acre of leased land in Bennington. The Town of Richmond will be the primary off-taker for the project utilizing 90% of the credits, with the remaining 10% allocated to the principals in the project; and
First in Fitness, Berlin - $149,000 to partially finance construction of a single user net-metering solar array being constructed by Woodfield Properties, LLC to produce renewable electricity for First in Fitness, a 57,584 square foot health club with multiple fitness rooms, locker rooms, a swimming pool, and tennis courts on 6.49 acres of land. Community National Bank is also providing financing for the project.
In addition, loans totaling $596,000 were approved through the Authority's Small Business Loan Program, which assists growing Vermont small businesses that are unable to access adequate sources of conventional financing.
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 $2.288 billion in financing assistance to thousands of eligible Vermont entrepreneurs, manufacturers, small businesses, family farms, and agricultural enterprises.
Source: VEDA 2.22.2017. 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.