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Community Capital March 2007 E-Newsletter

An Alternative Financing Source
for Vermont Entrepreneurs
In This Issue
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Revolving Loan Funds
From Emily Kaminsky, Fund Manager

Welcome to our March issue! Please take a moment to visit our newly re-designed website, courtesy of Ivey Hardy at Web-Bits. You'll find archived issues of our e- newsletter as well as information about our post-loan technical assistance program, success stories, and our work administering municipal revolving loan funds.

This month, our Quick Links section at left highlights some of the municipal revolving loan funds serving small businesses in Vermont. Also in this issue, we highlight:

  • VT Green Grocer
  • Community Capital and the Huntington Revolving Loan Fund
  • Results of our Statewide Market Study
  • Job Start Bill H.453
As some of you know, I am expecting motherhood any day now! With my due date - April 3rd - not far away, I will be handing off my duties to our very competent staff. Chris Rottler, Senior Loan Officer, will be in charge while I'm out on maternity leave!
VT Green Grocer
Kris Miceli always had the drive to be her own boss. At the same time, she also valued the importance of making a difference through her work. However, one of the last things Kris ever expected was to pursue a career as a grocer. Luckily for the residents and visitors of Richmond, running her own grocery store was exactly what fate had in mind.

Before opening up her own shop, Kris was an experienced grocer, having managed the Shelburne Supermarket, among other local shops. After her son was born, Kris realized it was time to “take the plunge” and open her own place. Seeing an opportunity in Richmond, she realized that in starting her own grocery market, she could not only be her own boss, but also make a difference by helping to get more local/fresh foods into the schools, and by making more local and organic foods available. The Vermont GreenGrocer was born.

The Vermont GreenGrocer is a small fresh foods market focusing on the many great, local growers and producers. They emphasize fresh and local as much as possible, and when in season, available and affordable. They carry everything from produce, dairy and local grass fed meats, to specialty and ethnic cooking ingredients. Their largest customer base is young families. Located around the bend from the Round Church in Richmond on the way to Huntington, Kris’ shop is small, warm and welcoming. Community Capital is proud to be a partner in Kris’ endeavor (together with all the other community support Kris has received), and wish her well in the achievement of her goals!

The Huntington Revolving Loan Fund, like many municipal loan funds in Vermont, evolved out of a Vermont Community Development Program grant. The grant was then used by the Town as an Economic Development Loan to the Fuller House Post Office Project in Huntington. Now, the repayments on that Economic Development Loan provide the source of funding for the Huntington Revolving Loan Fund (HRLF).

The HRLF is one of several municipal loan funds that Community Capital operates. Others include the Barre City/Barre Town RLF that funds small businesses and the East Montpelier RLF that funds both small businesses and owner-occupied housing rehabilitation (Community Capital contracts the housing portion of the RLF out to the Central Vermont Community Land Trust. In all cases, Community Capital actually owns the loan fund assets but is under contract with the municipality to loan funds exclusively to community residents. In the case of Huntington, the loan funds are designated for both small business and owner-occupied housing rehabilitation with a particular focus on serving low to moderate income individuals. As with the East Montpelier RLF, Community Capital sub-contracts the housing portion of the HRLF to the Champlain Housing Trust.

As of March 2007, Community Capital and the HRLF Loan Committee have finalized loan policies and completed marketing materials. The loan fund is now open for business with approximately $40,000 to lend. Over time, the loan fund will grow in value to over $300,000 as a result of ongoing repayments from the Fuller House Post Office Project loan.

For more information on the Huntington Revolving Loan Fund, contact Community Capital Senior Loan Officer Chris Rottler at or 802-479- 0167.

Our expansion statewide wouldn't be successful without a clear understanding of the needs of our clientele. In October 2006, we engaged our industry association - Opportunity Finance Network - to conduct a statewide market study on our behalf. The results of that study are now in!

The market study confirmed our hunch that credit cards are one of the primary sources of financing for microbusinesses. Capital One, in fact, is the number one business lender in Vermont. Microbusinesses responding to our market study confirmed that personal credit cards, along with loans or gifts from family and friends, are the primary means for financing business start-up and expansion.

We also learned that there continues to be unmet demand for microbusiness loans throughout the State and that the current supply of microbusiness capital is insufficient to meet that demand. While this may seem an obvious conclusion to some, there are those who might think otherwise. This conclusion makes the case for ongoing funding and support of microbusiness loan programs like Community Capital and Job Start.

We also learned - thanks to feedback from over 30 of our peers - that Community Capital is well-positioned to provide "entry- level" loans to microbusinesses statewide. That is, Community Capital is structured and funded in a way that helps it to deliver the kind of loans that microbusiness owners who are not familiar with or unable to borrow from traditional banks need. This confirmation that Community Capital is heading in the right direction gives us the confidence to continue tweaking and modifying our loan programs to meet the specific needs of these microbusinesses.

There are other interesting observations from the market study that we would like to share with you. At this time, however, only the Executive Summary is available for your review. A full public version of the study will be available on our website by the end of April, so please check back!

Bill H.453 was introduced to the House Commerce Committee on March 1st by Representative Pugh of South Burlington. The bill involves relocating the Job Start Loan Fund from the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) to the Offic e of Economic Opportunity and contracting the administration of the loan fund to a nonprofit community development financial institution like Community Capital.

This bill comes on the heels of the Job Start Advisory Board's decision in 2006 to support Community Capital of Vermont's proposal to administer the Job Start Loan Fund. Community Capital has been working side by side with VEDA and the Job Start Advisory Board to move Bill H.453 through the Legislature.

If you are interested in learning more about the Job Start Loan Fund, please contact Job Start Coordinator Cheryl Pickreign at 802-828-5466 or email her at If you are interested in Bill H.453, please contact Emily Kaminsky at 802-479-0167 or Mary Niebling at 802- 479-1053, ext. 257.

Our next issue will be published in April. Loan Officer Olivia Gay will be in charge of that issue. If you have news that you would like featured in any of our upcoming e-newsletters, you can contact Olivia at 802- 479-0167 or Until next time...

Emily Kaminsky
Community Capital of Vermont

phone: 802-479-0167