Business news and notes: SBA seeks small business award nominations

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BRATTLEBORO >> The Small Business Administration Vermont District Office is accepting nominations for its 2017 small business awards. Previous Vermont winners include Ben and Jerry's, Switchback Brewing Company and the 2016 Small Business Person of the Year winner, Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds.

Since 1963, the SBA has recognized the outstanding achievements of America's small businesses for their contributions to their local communities, and to the nation's economy. The award categories are: Small Business Person of the Year; Exporter of the Year; Family-Owned Business of the Year; Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year; Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year; Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year; Young Entrepreneur of the Year; and Microenterprise of the Year.

To nominate a company for a district award, email to vermont_do@sba.gov the following information about the nominee; Owner's first and last name; name of business; award category nominated; business address; city/town; phone number; and email address.

Businesses may self-nominate. All nominations must be submitted by 3 p.m. EST, Jan. 10.

For more information, email vermont_do@sba.gov or call 802-828-4422.

Qualified Veteran-owned businesses offered lower loan rates from Citizens Bank

PROVIDENCE, R.I. >> Citizens Bank recently announced a new offer that enables qualified veteran-owned businesses to benefit from lower loan rates.

Citizens Business Banking will offer an interest rate reduction on both SBA and conventional loans for qualified veteran businesses. To qualify, the business must be 51 percent owned by a veteran or spouse of a veteran and must provide veteran validation documentation and proof of ownership.

"Helping our veterans fund and operate their businesses is one of the many ways that Citizens Bank shows our appreciation for the sacrifice that they have made protecting our nation," said Kevin Ferryman, Head of SBA Lending, Citizens Bank. "We are proud to offer this promotion to our veterans, and will continue to offer our gratitude to these brave men and women."

According to the most recent U.S. Small Business Administration data, veterans owned 2.5 million businesses or 9.3 percent of U.S. firms.

Citizens Bank has long been a leader in supporting veterans related causes. The bank partnered with the Military Warriors Support Foundation in May of 2016 to donate a new home to Purple Heart recipient and Retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant John Blizinski. In 2015, the company provided a mortgage-free home to Retired U.S. Army Specialist Joshua Bacon. Citizens Bank actively supports veterans community organizations throughout its footprint, and recruits at military bases and other military support organizations to help hire veterans for open positions.

For more information on the new veterans loan program, call 1-800-4BUSINESS.

Windham Property Management signs Vernon Manor

VERNON >> Windham Property Management recently signed on the Vernon Manor Apartments at 4591 Fort Bridgman Road.

The 12-unit apartment building on the Massachusetts border doubles the inventory managed by Windham Property Management.

"We feel very fortunate to have gained the confidence of the Wyse family who owns Vernon Manor Apartments," said Sally Fegley of Windham Property Management. "We will begin working with the tenants and planning for various improvements the family has under consideration."

Originally built as a hotel, the large wood frame structure was used by the Vernon Green Nursing Home until the Wyse family purchased it in the mid-1970s.

Windham Property Management is a full service property management company servicing owners of apartments, houses and commercial properties in Windham County.

More information about the company is available at windhampmi.com.

River Valley Credit Union promotes Grimes

BRATTLEBORO >> River Valley Credit Union recently promoted Ethan Grimes to Vice President of Mortgage Lending.

Grimes, a native of Newfane, graduated from Leland and Gray High School in 1999. He majored in economics at Florida State University, and was a Mortgage Broker in Orlando before returning to Vermont.

Grimes began working at River Valley Credit Union in April of 2009, and has been a Mortgage Loan Processor and a Mortgage Originator until his recent promotion. Ethan may be contacted for home mortgages, construction loans, and home equity loans at our Putney Road, Brattleboro offices.

River Valley Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative based in Brattleboro, with reported assets of over $90 million. River Valley was founded in 1946 as the Putney Credit Union, and in 1996 became "River Valley Credit Union" after merging in Maple Valley Credit Union in Springfield. River Valley has five offices located in Putney, Townshend, Bellows Falls, Springfield, and Brattleboro.

Architectural firm honored for having eye on accessibility

WILMINGTON >> On Oct. 13, the Vermont Center for Independent Living honored Julie Lineberger and Joseph Cincotta of LineSync Architecture with an Ally of Accessibility Award. The award was handed out at VCIL's Montpelier office.

Lineberger is the owner and cofounder of LineSync Architecture, a green and sustainable firm in southern Vermont that has garnered numerous awards for both design and business management.

LineSync recently debuted the Wheel Pad, an eco-friendly 200-square- foot accessible bedroom and bathroom module that can be temporarily attached to an existing home. For more information about the module, visit www.wheelpad.com.

"Increasing the accessible housing stock in Vermont is a must and we love the design of Wheel Pad," said VCIL Executive Director Sarah Launderville. "It allows people with disabilities and elders more options for accessible housing. We applaud the excellent design that Julie and Joseph have put together and appreciate their dedication to people with disabilities. Not only are you spreading the word about the need to make homes accessible, you've come up with a tangible thing we can do. I'm super excited."

The idea for the Wheel Pad was born when a friend of Lineberger and Cincotta, an award-winning sports cinematographer and film producer named Riley Poor, was injured in an accident shortly before his 26th birthday and became a tetraplegic. He relocated to Portland, Oregon, after the accident, where he was unable to find a universally accessible apartment and had to live in a hotel for eight months. Not wanting others to go through similar situations, Cincotta designed the Wheel Pad as a way to provide temporary accessible housing for people newly using a wheelchair, allowing time for permanent accessible housing to be arranged.

"Our biggest market right now is veterans," said Lineberger said. "We want to change the way veterans come home."

She added that she hopes to start producing Wheel Pads in February and that she has a possible manufacturer lined up.

"In three to five years I hope to open our own manufacturing plant in Wilmington, which is economically depressed. In 20 years when I'm ready to retire, it will become an employee-owned company."

VCIL presents Ally of Accessibility Awards to businesses, organizations and individuals that go above and beyond when it comes to promoting accessibility.

To nominate a person, business or organization for an Ally of Accessibility Award, contact Stefanie Monte at smonte@vcil.org or 802-224-1820.

Hermitage Club's top accommodations score big in Condé Nast Traveler

WEST DOVER >> The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain, the only private ski and golf resort in the eastern U.S., announced that its Hermitage Inn had been ranked the eight-best hotel in New England.

According to Condé Nast Traveler magazine's annual reader survey, the Hermitage Inn scored higher than such stalwarts as the Nantucket Hotel and Resort and the Delamar Greenwich (Conn.) Harbor.

"The Hermitage Inn was not only the launching point of the Hermitage Club, it remains a center of family activities throughout the ski season and remains one of our most desired wedding sites," said Mike Quin, Vice President and General Manager for the Hermitage Club Resort. "Our members and guests alike enjoy the amazing food in the upscale restaurant, the energy in tavern and the charm and elegance of the rooms in such a quintessential Vermont setting. Just a few of the many reasons why so many people return to stay with us at the Inn year after year."

Having acquired The Hermitage Inn in 2007, owner Jim Barnes' vision to connect the Inn with the surrounding mountain culminated with the 2011 acquisition of Haystack Club. With the completion of development and the realization of a single property, the name of the club was changed to The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain to reflect its grandeur and history.

The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain is now a 1,400-acre enclave across West Dover and Wilmington, providing members with four seasons of private mountain activities, luxury accommodations, and a worry free safe environment for families of all generations.


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