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December 21, 2016

Taking Stock of 2016

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 10:02 am

(This appears in SRDC’s Winter Newsletter)

The year has flown by and, while we didn’t check everything off of the “to do” list (e.g. J & L Plant 1), we have made a lot of progress around the region.  Here are a few items to celebrate and update as we turn the calendar to 2017:

-       Trout River Brewery – Trevor, Gabe and Kelen finished their build out and, by December, had introduced six (if I’m counting right!) different varieties of beer to the market.  The company also received a Vermont downtown historic tax credit for their project.  As we spoke about at the SRDC Annual Meeting, Trout River and Konrad Prefab are two examples of projects that we’ve been involved with all of the way, from concept to business planning and financing, to site selection and build out, to operation and production. And, in both cases, we’re grateful to have such great partners as our Small Business Development Center and Debra Boudrieau!

-       Konrad Prefab – Later in this newsletter are pictures from the recent Ribbon Cutting event with Congressman Peter Welch. It’s been exciting to see David Jaacks’ vision come to life and the partnership he has with Mamava is going to be a win-win on lots of levels.  All of the businesses in the Jones Center have had great years and it’s always exciting to see the building humming with activity.

-       Blake Hill Preserves – Governor Shumlin was on hand for this Ribbon Cutting event this fall, to celebrate the completion of the new 6,000 sf facility that SRDC built for this new business in Windsor’s Artisans Park.  We are so happy for our friends Vicky Allard and Joe Hanglin, who have built this business from their kitchen into national distribution.  We also appreciate our continued partnership with Terry McDonnell.

-       J & L/Bryants – Patience is a virtue. And, I need to stop making predictions when it comes to these properties.  These are among the lessons I have to finally learn in 2017!  Having said that, both of these projects have taken significant steps forward this year.  In the case of Bryants, SRDC has invested roughly $300,000 in the south end of the building and is anticipating spending around that amount in the near future.  This will result in a 35,000 sf space that is clean, environmentally, secure and watertight. It now has electricity again and we will continue to restore functionality as we prepare the area for occupancy.

As for J & L, there is a lot of activity to prepare for the “main event” (demolition and redevelopment).  Doug and I signed off on the demo specs this week and asbestos cleanup plans are in their final stages.  EPA was in town last week (for the 3rd time since spring) to gather information as we continue to work with them for additional assistance.  The Town of Springfield also received funding for extending the Toonerville Trail to run behind the Jones Center and J & L, which hopefully will coincide with the site activity.

-       Windsor/WIC – SRDC has continued to increase its partnership with Windsor Improvement Corporation (WIC) and the Town of Windsor. We now provide administrative and project assistance to WIC and we appreciate the increased level of financial support!  Paul Kowalski is working with WIC on its recent purchase of properties in the Jarvis Street/Riverfront area and is developing plans for the repair/renovation of those houses.

And there’s much more, as we covered at the Annual Meeting!

2017 is shaping up to be a busy year with work on new downtown plans in Springfield and Chester, a new property to manage in Windsor, as well as establishing our first SRDC-owned revolving loan fund and other expansion/development projects I can’t comment on yet.

Thank you to our Board and all of SRDC’s members as well as our area communities and residents for the continued support.  I also want to add a personal thanks to our staff – Sandy, Heather, Cynthia and Paul as well as our in-house partners – Debra, Ed and Robin.

On behalf of all of us at SRDC, best wishes for a joyous and peaceful holiday season and a wondrous 2017.

December 12, 2016

Congressman Welch Cuts Ribbon for New Springfield VT Manufacturer

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 4:14 pm

Congressman Peter Welch did the honors on Monday at the official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Konrad Prefab’s new manufacturing facility in the Robert S. Jones Industrial Center in Springfield Vermont.

Konrad Prefab specializes in the design and production of modular and display units. Their initial product line are lactation suites, which will be distributed by Burlington Vermont-based Mamava.  The suites will be installed in public facilities around the country to support nursing mothers.

Congressman Welch lauded the new business in Springfield. “It’s heartening to see a new, vibrant manufacturer in a community that’s synonymous with manufacturing globally.”

Konrad Prefab President David Jaacks thanked everyone that had assisted with the project. “I appreciate the support that Springfield Regional Development Corporation, VEDA, Mascoma Bank and the Town of Springfield has provided in getting our business up and running. We’re pleased to bring new manufacturing jobs to Springfield.”

Mamava CEO and Co-Founder Sascha Mayer thanked Congressman Welch for his continued support of Mamava and was pleased that the company is now able to have its products manufactured in Vermont.  “We’re grateful for the opportunity to not just support our nursing mamas, but our local economy and community here in Vermont. It is this amazing community that made Mamava possible and we couldn’t be happier to reciprocate that support today”, Mayer said.

Konrad Prefab’s new operation is in 20,000 square feet in the Robert S. Jones Industrial Center in Springfield, which is owned by Springfield Regional Development Corporation.  The business is one of four that are located in the facility, and is expected to employ 10 – 15 people within the next year.

December 8, 2016

Community Visioning Workshop in Chester on 12/14

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 8:33 am

On December 14th from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Town Hall Auditorium, representatives from the Town of Chester along with consultants from SE Group will be facilitating a Community Vision Workshop.  As an element of public involvement for developing a Master Plan for Chester Village Center, this community workshop is intended to offer residents and the public-at-large an opportunity to provide input, suggestions, comments and ideas on how to strengthen and improve the long-term vibrancy within the Village.  The Workshop is organized around two parts:

The first part will include a presentation of the “baseline” conditions assessment. This will highlight what has been learned to date and how it might inform the long-term vision for the master plan. Participants will have the ability to provide comments and offer suggestions.  It is expected that the presentation portion of the meeting will last approximately 30-45 minutes, plus time for questions.

The second part of the meeting will focus on exploring a vision.  Using large maps of the Village and facilitated small-group discussions, participants will help brainstorm on ways to help improve the long-term vibrancy of the Village.  After about one hour, each of the small groups will provide a “report” back to the overall meeting on the key opportunities they explored.

The schedule for the meeting is as follows:

5:00PM – 5:30 PM                  Welcome and Informal Conversations

5:30PM – 6:30 PM                  Part 1 – Baseline Conditions – Things to Consider

-        Overview of the Study Area – Key Highlights

-        Focus Group Workshop – Key Highlights

-        Community Visitor Survey – Key Highlights

-        Market and Economic Conditions-  Key Highlights

6:30PM – 6:45PM                  Break – Getting into Small Groups

6:45 PM – 8:00 PM                  Part 2 – Small Group Exercise – Exploring the Vision

-        Opportunities for Access and Circulation

-        Opportunities for Recreation

-        Opportunities for Economic Development

-        Opportunities for Land Use

-        Opportunities for Gathering

8:00 PM – 8:30 PM                  Small Group Reports and Summary

If you are not able to attend the event, information from the meeting will be made available online and you are welcome to provide comments at any time through the Town’s website at www.chestervt.gov\rediscover.  Kids are welcome to attend!  Legos and coloring books/crayons and paper will be available!   Light refreshments will be available.

About the Project: The Town of Chester, working through a Strong Communities / Better Communities grant from the Vermont Agency of Transportation and Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, has recently begun this “Rediscovering Chester” effort.  The purpose of the project is to identify areas (physical improvements, community organization, branding) that the Town might pursue to assure the continued vitality of its Village Center.

Previously the Project conducted a community Focus Group discussion (October 22nd) and Visitor Survey (that recently closed out at the end of October).  Also on Saturday, September 17th, members of the Town and the consulting team were present at the Chester-on-the-Green event to listen and learn from residents and visitors on what makes Chester a special place.  This Community Vision Workshop is planned to provide the community with an update of these inputs and seek additional guidance on the long-term vision for the Village Center.

November 28, 2016

HUBZone Workshop in Springfield on 12/12

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 9:36 am

The Vermont Procurement Technical Assistance Center and U.S. Small Business Administration are holding a series of workshops around the state to help local companies understand what the new HUBZone Program expansion could mean for their business.  One of those workshops will be held in Springfield on December 12th from 10 am- Noon at the Howard Dean Education Center at 307 South Street.

The HUBZone Program helps small businesses gain preferential access to Federal contracts due to limited development in areas with rural communities.  Several counties in Vermont, including Addison, Bennington, Orange, Rutland, Windsor and Windham, have recently been designated as such areas.  Companies located in these areas (as well as Essex and Orleans county, which have had this designation) can qualify for the benefits of this program.

The workshops will explain the HUBZone Program, including the necessary information for businesses to qualify, as well as the process for certification and eligibility requirements.

Admission to the workshops is free of charge.  You can register online at http://vtptac.ecenterdirect.com/events?reset=1 or call Springfield Regional Development Corporation for more information at 802-885-3061.

October 27, 2016

SRDC’s Bob Flint on Puggy’s Corner – 10/16

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 9:49 am

SRDC’s Executive Director Bob Flint appeared recently on SAPA-TV’s “Puggy’s Corner” program to provide an update on economic development activities in the Springfield Vermont region.  Click on the link below to stream/view!


September 30, 2016

Two Success Stories for SRDC!

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 9:02 am

(the following was written by SRDC Executive Director Bob Flint for the Fall SRDC Newsletter)

The timing turned out to be coincidental, but within the span of a few weeks this summer, two projects that SRDC has invested significant time and resources in both crossed the proverbial finish line.

Blake Hill Preserves opened their new 6,000 square foot production facility and retail store in Artisans Park in Windsor and Konrad Prefab began operations in their new 17,000 square foot space in the Robert S. Jones Industrial Center in Springfield.

Both of these are case studies of what SRDC can do, from soup to nuts so to speak.  I first met Vicky Allard and Joe Hanglin over two years ago when Terry McDonnell (the owner of Artisans Park) and I saw them at their home in Grafton.  In the case of Konrad Prefab, I’ve known David Jaacks from the days of Kiosko and the seeds of his project started taking hold just over a year ago.

In both situations, our work included, in no particular order – site selection (including changing specs and communities), equipment financing, business plan development, project development (with, in both cases, dramatic changes in scope) and, ultimately, project financing and construction oversight.  There were ups and significant downs and there were times when we were serving as “therapists” as much as an “economic developers” as we tried to hold things together.

SRDC is now the proud owner of the completed Blake Hill Preserves building in Windsor, the second property that we own in Artisans Park.  And we are doing work at our Jones Center facility in association with the Konrad project.   SRDC’s Heather Hartford and Chair Doug Gurney have been heavily involved in all of this as well.

Each of these projects also showcases the strong partnerships that SRDC is fortunate enough to have. VEDA (Vermont Economic Development Authority) is closely involved in both companies/projects and, as always, is ready to roll up their sleeves to help us find a way to make things work.  The Towns of Windsor and Springfield were integral parts of these projects with direct assistance and support. Within the SRDC office, the Small Business Development Center and Procurement Technical Assistance Center are tied in with these businesses.  We also are working with the Department of Economic Development on obtaining grants to assist with the companies’ workforce needs.

The ribbon cutting for the Blake Hill building will be next week, October 6th at 11 am and we will be holding a similar event for Konrad Prefab in the coming weeks.  SRDC’s Annual Meeting (on November 1st at the Windsor Mansion Inn) will also be an opportunity to celebrate these success stories.

For us in the office, it’s gratifying to realize that we helped to facilitate each of these projects, both of which are adding new jobs to the economy in the region.  We always remember that we don’t “create” jobs, businesses do.  Hopefully, with Blake Hill Preserves and Konrad Prefab, we can safely say that we helped these two young companies launch major projects that will establish them as important employers in Southern Windsor County for many years to come.

September 27, 2016

Start Your Own Business Workshop in Springfield on 10/14

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 1:16 pm

The Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) is offering a 4-hour workshop on how to start your own business and write a business plan. The course will be offered on Friday, October 14th, from 9 am – 1 pm, at the SRDC office at 14 Clinton Street in Springfield, VT.

Starting Your Own Business can be challenging…are you ready to turn your idea into a real business opportunity? This workshop, conducted by experienced business advisors, is designed as a guide for the first-time business owner. Your payment to attend includes a comprehensive start-up workbook, handouts, and resources in marketing, financing, management and operations. Highlights of the workshop include using the “Business Model Canvas” to evaluate whether there is a viable business in your good idea, identifying your target customers and your “unique selling proposition”, consider start-up costs, sales, expenses and financing options.  Learn how to register your business, apply for tax numbers, ways to pitch your idea, develop a business plan plus more.  By the end of this workshop you will be well-informed about the tools and resources available to you and the “Next Steps” involved in launching a successful business.

Space is limited. To register for the workshop sign up online at www.vtsbdc.org (click on the training tab). For registration questions, please email Heather Gonyaw at hgonyaw@vtsbdc.org.  The registration fee is $99.00.  Your payment includes a start-up workbook in hardcopy and pdf format.

Vermont Small Business Development Center is a non-profit partnership of government, education and business, organized to help Vermont small businesses succeed. No-cost, confidential advice is provided to existing business owners and new entrepreneurs throughout the state.  The local VTSBDC office is part of Springfield Regional Development Corporation, 14 Clinton Street in Springfield VT. For more information visit www.vtsbdc.org or contact Debra Boudrieau at (802) 885-2071 or dboudrieau@vtsbdc.org.

August 12, 2016

Konrad Prefab To Begin Manufacturing Operations in Springfield

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 10:11 am

Springfield Regional Development Corporation (SRDC) is pleased to announce that Konrad Prefab will be starting manufacturing operations in the Robert S. Jones Industrial Center in Springfield in the next few weeks. Konrad Prefab is a locally-based company specializing in the design and production of display and modular units.

The purpose built units or environments, as they are referred to, will be used by customers for retail stores, trade show marketing, point of purchase displays and signage. Konrad Prefab will utilize new machinery to produce these environments, which require large format printing, fabrication of ACM and panel processing.

Financing for Konrad Prefab is being provided by Mascoma Bank and the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) with assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA).  Bob Flint, SRDC Executive Director, said that he appreciated the hard work that went into this project.  He said, “We really want to thank Mascoma, VEDA and SBA, as well as the Town of Springfield, for their support of pulling the pieces together for Konrad Prefab.”

Company President David Jaacks estimates that Konrad Prefab will employ 10-12 people in the next 12 months with hopes for additional growth in the coming years.

June 30, 2016

Workforce Study and Business Climate Survey Completed!

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 9:15 am

SRDC recently completed a study of the region’s workforce as well as a business climate survey for Southern Windsor County.  These projects were part of SRDC’s involvement in the East Central Vermont Economic Development District.

The reports incorporate input from 46 area companies, including in-person interviews with several key employers.  Click on the links to read/download:

SRDC Business Climate Survey – 2016

SRDC Workforce Study – 2016

May 10, 2016

Employer Workshop about “Adverse Childhood Experiences” and Impact on Workforce Coming Up May 25th

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 4:15 pm

The River Valley Workforce Investment Board and Springfield Regional Development Corporation are co-sponsoring an informational workshop on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 from 8 – 9:30 am at the Holiday Inn Express in Springfield. The topic will be Adverse Childhood Experiences and the impact on the  workforce for businesses in the region.

Bill Brown, an Area Manager and Counselor for Health Care & Rehabilitation Services (HCRS) will be presenting the program.  Research has overwhelmingly demonstrated the connection between negative early life experiences and poor long-term outcomes in adulthood. Chronic toxic stress caused by Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, increases the likelihood that an individual will develop any number of a myriad of physical, mental, economic or social maladies later in life.  In addition to the many health consequences, ACEs have a profound impact on workplace performance. The Center for Disease Control estimates that lifelong productivity loss associated with childhood maltreat costs the private sector approximately $83.5 billion.

Though well-established in academic circles, this information is only now beginning to trickle into the general population. This presentation will explore the body of research launched by the initial groundbreaking ACEs study. It will examine the process linking experiences to lifelong changes to health and wellness.  Lastly, there will be a discussion about how early childhood adversity impacts performance in the workplace and strategies employers can use to mitigate these challenges.

The program is free of charge and open to the public.  Please rsvp to Sandy at the SRDC office at 802-885-3061 or sandy@springfielddevelopment.org

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