Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation (GMEDC) was awarded a Rural Business Development Grant from USDA to create a Revolving Loan Fund for businesses affected by disasters. GMEDC closed its first loan of $15,000 on August 25th in Hartford, VT to DJ Enterprises/AC Lawn Mowing following extensive storm damage July 1st. Water, mud, stone ballast and debris from the railroad embankment above their property on Old River Road in White River Junction crushed their main building, forcing cancellation of their business operations and vacated several tenants. The well-known local owners, Chuck and Alicia Gordon, were visited by Governor Scott and Commissioner of Labor Lindsay Kurrle the next day to view the devastation first hand. They assured the Gordons that Commissioner Kurrle would remain in contact afterward to work with federal, state and local agencies and help get them back on their feet.
GMEDC Executive Director Bob Haynes became their local point of contact for meetings with Ross Hart of SBDC to provide business planning and inspections by Ben Rose, Section Chief for Vermont Emergency Management Division, Lori Hirshfield, Director of Planning for the Town of Hartford and FEMA. Bob also worked closely with their attorney, Brad Fawley, of Downs Rachlin and Martin.
Alicia Gordon said “We are most grateful for the tremendous support and care provided by Lindsay and Bob and we don’t know what we would have done without them! They really care about us small fries and they did everything they could to help us. This is our life and they understand that.”
GMEDC is eager to learn of other businesses that could benefit from this newly created Revolving Loan Fund. “The loans are fairly small but are structured to meet individual needs with a 0% interest rate” explained Mr. Haynes. “Other programs are available for larger amounts. We work closely with VEDA, our state industrial bank, and federal loan programs to help protect our small businesses and their employees. As we experienced during Irene, it is a lot of work for us, but it’s an important part of what we do as a Regional Development Corporation. We are most appreciative of USDA for this support.”
Business owners Chuck & Alicia Gordon, GMEDC Executive Director Robert Haynes, GMEDC Board Co-Chair Sperry Wilson and Commissioner of Labor Lindsay Kurrle at the August 25, 2017 Loan Closing.
Surveying the damage at AC Lawn Mowing