Durasol snags $720K award to buy Geiger building

MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has awarded $720,000 in financing to KE Durasol Awnings Inc. to aid the company in its $1.8 million purchase of the former Geiger building at 38 Pond Lane, a Middlebury property the company has leased since 2009.
KE Durasol Awnings manufactures both commercial and residential awnings. The company’s commercial division is based in Middlebury and its residential division is located in Chester, N.Y. The company has been leasing 27,600 square feet in the former Geiger building. The VEDA financing will allow KE Durasol to own and remain in the Pond Lane facility, while leasing a portion of the 51,600-square-foot building on 19.1 acres to Geiger. The arrangement also sets some additional space in reserve for sublease or for future expansion of the awnings business, which sells its products in all 50 states.
KE Durasol currently has 23 employees and expects to increase to 34 within the next three year, according to Norma Rollet, the company’s chief operating officer.
“It’s wonderful,” she said of the VEDA financing. “We’re growing; we’re strong. (Middlebury) is the place we want to be.”
VEDA announced on May 2 that it had approved a total of $5.7 million in business and agricultural financing to support commercial and agricultural development projects throughout Vermont, including the Durasol financing.
“Financing assistance approved by VEDA will help strengthen Vermont businesses and farms, and expand job opportunities for Vermonters,” said VEDA Chief Executive Officer Jo Bradley.
Other recipients included:
•  Agri-Mark Inc. Financing of $2 million was approved as part of Agri-Mark’s $2.8 million project to acquire and renovate, as its Cabot corporate headquarters, the former Northern Power Systems building in Waitsfield. In 2007, the Central Vermont Investment Corporation (CVIC) took possession of the property and has been leasing space to Diffraction Ltd. and the state of Vermont.
“We are thrilled to see the ownership of this property transfer to Agri-Mark,” Sam Andersen, executive director of CVIC/CVEDC, said through a press release issued by VEDA. “We greatly appreciate their commitment to Vermont and to the economic vitality of the Mad River Valley.”
Agri-Mark currently has 599 employees in Vermont at several plant and administrative locations (including Middlebury), and has plans to continue to expand its Cabot brand into the future. Established in 1918, Agri-Mark is a 100-percent dairy farmer-owned cooperative, with more than 1,200 member farms located in all six New England states and throughout upstate New York. The farmers produce more than 2.5 billion pounds of milk each year. The cooperative owns and operates four dairy plants in Massachusetts, New York and Vermont, including Cabot Creamery in Cabot and a cheese and whey processing plant in Middlebury, where it makes its award-winning products.
•  Green Mountain Economic Development Corp. (GMEDC) and Pompanoosuc Mills Corp. VEDA approved a $1.58 million loan to GMEDC and Pompanoosuc Mills to finance the company’s sale/leaseback agreement for its manufacturing, headquarters and showroom facility in East Thetford.
•  VEDA also agreed to extend financing totaling $1.1 million for Vermont farmers through the authority’s agricultural loan program and the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation; and $317,372 in Small Business Loan Program financing to assist growing Vermont small businesses that are unable to access adequate sources of conventional financing.
VEDA was created by the General Assembly in 1974 with a mission “to contribute to the creation and retention of quality jobs in Vermont by providing loans and other financial support to eligible and qualified Vermont industrial, commercial and agricultural enterprises.”
Since 1974, VEDA has provided over $1.9 billion in financing assistance to thousands of eligible Vermont entrepreneurs, manufacturers, small businesses, family farms, and agricultural enterprises, helping them to realize their business growth goals, create jobs, and enhance the vitality of Vermont’s economy. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org or call 802-828-JOBS (802-828-5627).
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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