September 27, 2018
Vermont Business Magazine
The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has approved $7.4 million in financing to support manufacturing, agricultural, small business and energy development projects throughout Vermont. Among the awardees were: Smugglers' Notch Distillery; Northern Gas Transport, Inc; Flex-A-Seal, Inc; Packetized Energy Technologies, Inc; The Afterschool Collaborative; Kid Logic Learning; Londonderry Community Solar; and Eurowest Solar.
"Manufacturing and other jobs will be created by a number of Vermont businesses approved for VEDA financing," said Jo Bradley, VEDA's Chief Executive Officer. "In addition, VEDA's Farm Operating Loan Program continues to provide cash flow relief to Vermont's dairy farmers to help them withstand the pressures of several years of low milk prices."
VEDA approved $1.5 million in commercial loans through the Authority's Direct Loan and Small Business Loan Programs. Among the projects approved for financing were:
* Smugglers' Notch Distillery, LLC, Jeffersonville - Financing of $300,000 was approved to help Smugglers' Notch Distillery purchase an existing 10,000 square-foot commercial building with 4,000 square feet of shed space on ten acres in Jeffersonville, and consolidate the company's manufacturing, tasting room and inventory store there. Started by a father and son team in 2009, Smugglers' Notch Distillery produces popular, award-winning spirits, including two vodkas, rum aged in bourbon barrels, straight bourbon whiskey, maple bourbon, wheat whiskey, and two gins, as well as limited releases of rye, maple rum, and Dead Buck Whiskey. The new building has roughly seven times more production capacity than the company's prior space, and provides improved visibility and access directly on Route 15. In addition to its Jeffersonville tasting facility, the business operates tasting rooms in two other Vermont locations, and its products are also available in New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Georgia, California, and Massachusetts, and online across the country. Union Bank also provided financing for the project, which is expected to help boost employment at Smugglers' Notch Distillery by 50% from the current twenty-two positions within the next few years;
* Northern Gas Transport, Inc., Lyndonville - Partial financing of $215,000 was approved to help a growing trucking company specializing in hauling propane and ashphalt purchase several new trailers. Financing for the project will also be provided by Passumpsic Savings Bank and NCIC. Established 39 years ago, Northern Gas Transport currently employs 38 individuals, and has a fleet of over 40 tractors and 125 trailers. The company transports over 80 million gallons of propane annually, as well as 26 million gallons of liquid asphalt. Within three years of the expansion project, employment at Northern Gas Transport is expected to grow to 41 positions;
* Flex-A-Seal, Inc., Essex Junction - A VEDA loan of $32,000 will partially finance Flex-A-Seal's purchase and upgrade of new and existing CNC equipment, enabling the company to increase production efficiencies and capacity. Established in 1983, Flex-A-Seal produces many types of sealing products used in industries including pulp and paper, hydrocarbon processing, chemical and food processing, drug manufacturing, wastewater, potable water, refineries, marine and pipeline systems. Flex-A-Seal employs 121 persons in Vermont, a number expected to grow within three years to 134. People's United Bank is also providing financing for the project; and
* Packetized Energy Technologies, Inc., Burlington - VEDA approved a $30,000 working capital loan through its Entrepreneurial Loan Program to help this early-stage business meet product demand through fabrication of their "Mello" smart thermostats for electric water heaters. Formed in 2016, Packetized Energy Technologies develops and commercializes technology that matches energy demand with variable, e.g., renewable, energy supply at the in-home device level. Utilizing proprietary algorithms, cloud-based software, and their UL-listed Mello smart thermostats, they are able to provide customers with greater control over their hot water supply while simultaneously ensuring the electric grid operates more efficiently. The business estimates jobs will increase from their current five employees to over thirty by 2020.
Over $3 million in farm loans were approved through the Authority's agricultural loan program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC), both assisting farms in their diversification plans, and providing cash flow relief for dairy farmers, in particular, through the Farm Operating Loan Program (FOLP).
Two children's educational and childcare real estate development projects in South Burlington were approved for VEDA financing:
* The Afterschool Collaborative, LLC - Through VEDA's SBA 504 Loan Program, the Authority approved an SBA 504 debenture of $540,000 as partial financing toward The After School Collaborative's purchase and renovation of an 8,700 square-foot property on Shelburne Road for use as a preschool facility for children three to five years old. Established in 2013, The After School Collaborative provides after school programs at nine Chittenden County schools, and before school programs at three of those schools. With the addition of the new location, The Afterschool Collaborative will be expanding its offerings to include a pre-school program for three-to-five year olds, and adding up to ten additional full-time employees to its current base of 45 full-time equivalent employees. Community National Bank is also providing financing for the expansion project; and
* Kid Logic Learning, LLC - VEDA approved partial financing of $408,000 to help an educational center for children from infants to ten years of age effectively double its enrollment capacity through the purchase and renovation of an existing property on Ethan Allen Drive. Opportunities Credit Union also approved financing for the expansion project. In existence since 2013, Kid Logic Learning this year received five "STARS," the highest score for Vermont's quality recognition system for child care, preschool, and afterschool programs. Within three years of the project, Kid Logic Learning expects to increase employment from sixteen to 23 positions.
Energy financings of almost $2.2 million were approved for commercial energy projects which, together, are estimated to produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 306 average households, and reduce CO2 emissions by 1,226 tons each year. Included among the approvals were:
* Londonderry Community Solar, LLC, Londonderry - Partial financing of $358,000 to install a group net-metered array in Londonderry, for which Brooks House and the Putney Co-op will be the off-takers for the project; and
* Eurowest Solar, LLC, Essex Junction - Partial financing of $133,332 for construction of the third solar installation for the Essex Experience featuring the Cinema, the Double E Performance Center and the Shops at Essex. This array will complete the solar installations at the Essex Experience and bring the Center close to net zero usage. Mascoma Bank is also providing financing for the project.
In addition, $36,089 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.