by Andrew Martin
2012 marked another year in which Lamoille area businesses received aid from the Vermont Community Loan Fund (VCLF), which is celebrating its 25th year of providing loans, grants, and assistance to businesses that benefit low-income Vermonters. Several successful businesses have been receiving aid from the loan fund over the last few years and are prospering as a result.
One local business that has received aid from the VCLF over the last few years is Morrisville’s Mud City Kids Child Care Center. The full-day and full-year child care center used a loan from VCLF to expand its facility, adding 4,300 square feet to the old building. The addition allowed the center to expand its infant and preschool programs, adding 27 new slots while also maintaining the 47 slots previously available at the facility. According to the VCLF newsletter, half of the slots at Mud City Kids are filled by families that receive child care subsidies, and six new jobs were created by the addition of children at the center.
A second business that has been receiving aid from VCLF recently is Turtles ‘N Tots Daycare of Johnson. Again according to their newsletter, VCLF financed the costs of transitioning the home-based daycare to a larger facility. At their new facility the daycare can serve up to 54 children, 90 percent of whom will be from families receiving childcare subsidies. The move also helped save the two jobs at the center and created eight new employment opportunities.
Another local business that has benefited from VCLF aid is Paine’s Christmas Trees, of Morrisville. A VCLF loan was used by Paine’s to make improvements to the farm store and sugarhouse. Paine’s Christmas Trees sells roughly 2,500 trees a year and their recent additions helped ensure that six part-time and two seasonal jobs were preserved.
A fourth local business that has recently used VCLF aid to its benefit is Highfields Center for Composting in Hardwick. Financing provided by VCLF helped Highfields purchase processing equipment, which according to the VCLF newsletter, resulted in six full-time livable wage jobs being retained and an expected three new jobs in the future.