A neighborhood store, when run well, is the heartbeat of a small community.

JC’s Market & Deli is the hub of Main Street in North Springfield Vermont.  A visit there is like walking into a bustling hive of activity where many customers are regulars and new visitors are encouraged to check out the daily specials.

In just a year, JC’s has become an essential part of the local community. It’s a multi-generational, socioeconomic melting pot of the people who live and work locally.  Relationships are formed every day between the customers and the staff, based on regular interactions, whether it’s picking up lunch during a short break at work or grabbing groceries for one’s family.

John and Jen Claflin are natives of Springfield Vermont (and are brother and sister).  John works for the local fire department and Jen helps her mother with a small housecleaning company.  A few years ago, John started a small food truck business to sell goodies at local events during summer and foliage season, which quickly took off.

As the part-time food truck revenues continued to grow, John and Jen (with the strong, active support of their extended family) began to look at starting a brick-and-mortar store.  Opportunity knocked with the closure of the North Springfield Market in the early days of the pandemic.

John and Jen (who has turned out to have a gift for bookkeeping and business planning) were determined in their quest. They turned to Springfield Regional Development Corporation (SRDCO and the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC), who offering free and confidential small business counseling services through SRDC.  They worked diligently through the assignments that VtSBDC Counselor Debra Boudrieau gave them and were receptive to suggestions about what was realistic for operating a successful small retail store in Vermont amidst a pandemic.

No matter what potential obstacles came before them, John and Jen persevered.  SRDC and VtSBDC helped to put together a financing package with Anita Woodcock, a Commercial Loan Officer with One Credit Union in Springfield Vermont, a member-owned financial institution.  The Springfield Area CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund (created through an award from the Economic Development Administration) provided a critical $60,000 in financing which then leveraged an additional $190,000 in loans to help make this project a reality.

A year later, JC’s Market & Deli is the thriving heartbeat of North Springfield, servicing the neighborhood’s residents as well as the area’s businesses, including those in Precision Park, a nearby commercial-industrial development. You’ll likely see John hustling around the store and Jen writing up the daily specials for posting along with members of their extended family and ever-growing staff. Their love of their families and their community shine through in every sandwich, cookie and old family recipe they make. JC’s is a very special place and has brought North Springfield closer together.

This project serves as a successful example of how the Springfield Area CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) has had an impact in COVID/pandemic recovery in Southern Windsor County.  Funds are still available for area businesses to assist with COVID recovery and related economic opportunities. To learn more, please contact Bob Flint at SRDC at 802-885-3061 or bobf@springfielddevelopment.org