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first_imgOpportunities Credit Union has announced an innovative business loan for Sugarsnap LLC.  Along with VEDA (Vermont Economic Development Authority), Opportunities Credit Union is helping fund the expansion of this six year old company which is opening its second retail store, an expanded commercial kitchen, and new line of preserved food products.  Abbey Duke opened Sugarsnap on Riverside Avenue in Burlington in 2003 with two business partners.  The small food business has managed its own Intervale farm, catering business, and retail outlet on Riverside Avenue.  Duke bought out her partners in early 2009, and considered her goal to keep growing her farm-based business.   She teamed up with Rob Smart, who brought 20 years of experience in community-scale renewable energy experience and an MBA from the University of Washington.  Together they approached Sandy Croft of VEDA with their vision of the future. According to Smart, financing a food business required a lender willing to embrace both financial and community-based returns.   VEDA lender, Sandy Croft, introduced Smart and Duke to Greg Huysman, small business lender for Opportunities Credit Union.  “We love it when we are able to help small businesses with missions that align with ours,” said Huysman, “It makes sense for a creative company to work with a creative lender to grow jobs and support local farmers.”   With commitments from VEDA and Opportunities Credit Union, Sugarsnap was also able to attract multiple private investors.  “It was vital for us to get this support from the state of Vermont and a local credit union early,” said Smart.Sugarsnap will be renovating and improving their current Riverside site, opening a second retail site at Technology Park in South Burlington, and building a state of the art commercial kitchen.  “The combination of attractively priced loans from the lenders and patient capital from our investors,” says Smart, “means Sugarsnap can expand its reach and maintain its reputation as a trusted source of the best food possible.”  Source: OCU. 5.7.2010last_img read more

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