BRANDON — A distillery hoping to open on Park Street was granted a loan from the town’s successful revolving fund.
The Select Board, at its Nov. 11 meeting, voted to approve a $25,000 loan to principals behind Ripton Mountain Distillery. According to a project review sheet filed with the Department of Environmental Conservation and Natural Resources Board at the start of this year, the distillery will be at 12 and 14 Park Street.
“On April 25. July 25 and Oct. 29, the Brandon Revolving Loan Fund Committee met to consider a loan request from the principals of the Ripton Mountain Distillery,” said Brandon Economic Development Director Bill Moore, reading from a prepared statement. “The Ripton Mountain Distillery has nearly completed the renovation of the former Shapiro’s retail space into a distillery tasting room and bar space representing significant investment of private sector money into a leased space to create another destination business for the town of Brandon.”
He said the distillery has worked for the past year to get the building ready to open.
“This loan will represent the gap funding that will help the startup business open after substantial personal investment, which is one of the key missions of the revolving loan fund,” Moore said, adding that the members present on the revolving loan committee had unanimously approved the loan.
Moore said two of the distillery principals were in attendance, Rick Carroll and Sharon Williams.
“The $25,000 will pay for our permits and our stock, that will finish us,” said Carroll. He said the kitchen is being worked on and progress is being made.
“I just want to thank you for the completeness of the documentation you provided, thank you for working with the revolving loan committee,” said Select Board Chairman Seth Hopkins.
Moore said in an interview Monday that the revolving loan fund has about $75,000 in it, with nearly $250,000 out in loans.
“Since I’ve taken on the role of economic development officer, we’ve been trying to keep as much of that money out,” he said. “It’s good to have that money in, the committee is fairly judicious about the amount they keep out because they always want to have some in, but we’ve people making payments every month, so money comes in as money goes out.”
He said Brandon businesses can apply for loans for anywhere between $5,000 and $80,000. He and the fund committee like to have a little bit in it at all times should a local business need a $5,000 to $10,000 loan for something minor.
“We’ve had some real great success stories, like Red Clove Ale Co. and Olivia’s Croutons,” he said. “This fund is doing exactly what we intended it to do, which was establish and generate business and give people who are thinking about opening a business or who need a little extra boost.”
He said the committee is thinking about ways to augment the fund, perhaps looking to solar development projects.