New space in the works for Bee’s Wrap, VEDA
MIDDLEBURY — There’s new activity buzzing around 383 Exchange St. in Middlebury: A new, 6,900-square-foot, single-story building that will create office space for the adjacent Bee’s Wrap business and for the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA).
Spearheading the new construction is Brian Carpenter, Middlebury selectboard chairman and owner of both Champlain Valley Equipment and 383 Exchange St. He explained that Bee’s Wrap moved into the existing 383 Exchange St. complex — which formerly hosted the Sears Hometown Store — last year, and now needs more office space. At the same time, he learned VEDA was seeking a new home for its Middlebury branch, which is currently renting space at 1590 Route 7 South.
“VEDA was curious if we had any space, and I said we were talking to Bee’s Wrap about building a facility for them if they wanted to be a participant in that,” Carpenter said.
VEDA Chief Executive Officer Cassie Polhemus said the organization’s current Middlebury headquarters hosts six full-time employees and includes additional space for traveling workers and for business transactions with clients.
“The (Route 7 South) space, though adequate, doesn’t fully meet our needs, and the lease has expired,” Polhemus said. “(The 383 Exchange St. project) was the most appealing option in Middlebury.”
Created by the state Legislature in 1974, VEDA is Vermont’s statewide economic development finance lender. Its mission is “to contribute to Vermont’s economic vitality by providing a broad array of financing programs to eligible businesses that create jobs and help advance Vermont’s public policy goals,” according to the organization’s website.
A solid wall will separate the two enterprises, Carpenter said. Bee’s Wrap will be allotted roughly two-thirds of the new space, with the remainder going to VEDA.
The building will feature a secure door with buzz-in requirement for VEDA visitors.
Construction began in October and is expected to conclude by May, according to Carpenter, who added both businesses have committed to long-term leases for their space.
Sears vacated its 10,000-square-foot space at 383 Exchange St. in July of last year. It’s now hosting the production, shipping and warehouse functions of “Bee’s Wrap,” a fast growing manufacturer of an all-natural alternative to plastic wrap that had made Bristol its home for the previous four years.
Bee’s Wrap has grown from nine workers back in 2015 to the current 43. The company’s products are exported throughout the world,
Bee’s Wrap founder and CEO Sarah Kaeck said the company will move its offices out of its current building and into the new office space.
“This will allow us to grow our sales and marketing team, but also allow for expansion of our manufacturing space,” Kaeck said through an email. “Not only will we have room to upgrade our fulfillment facility, but we will also have room to expand our product line.”
Kaeck is confident Bee’s Wrap will be sticking around Middlebury for awhile.
“There is a lot we can do with our current location,” she said. “This space should be able to accommodate us for some time even with the growth we are experiencing.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]
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