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Business Notes for Feb. 10, 2013: Copeland Furniture Gets VEDA Financing for Equipment Upgrade

Bradford, Vt. — The Vermont Economic Development Authority has approved funding as part of a financing package to purchase machinery and equipment at T. Copeland and Sons, which operates Copeland Furniture.

The $140,000 VEDA loan is being coupled with financing from Ledyard National Bank for the $350,000 package to buy the up-to-date technical equipment that will increase furniture manufacturing flexibility and capacity and ultimately lead to job growth in the Bradford area, said Tim Copeland, the company’s president and chief operating officer.

“We’re constantly expanding our production, and we’re really beginning to see the payoff of all our years of marketing, designing and producing furniture. Things have really taken off, and (last year), we realized that we needed to increase production to keep up with demand,” Copeland said.

During the last year, Copeland has added eight new employees and now has 85 people working for the company. “I don’t see us reducing staff, and if business continues to grow, we’ll be adding positions.”

The company is seeing a renewed interest in modern furniture from the 1950s and 1960s, and is designing and producing lines drawn from that period, he said.

“Taste in furniture tends to skip generations. People are more interested in furniture of their grandparents’ generation than their parents.”

Copeland started the company in 1977. All of the company’s furniture is manufactured in its Bradford facility, which uses wood sustainably harvested within 500 miles of the plant. The company also operates a 4,500-square-foot retail store on Main Street in Bradford.

Company News

Three Little Birds organic wholesale bakery has settled into its new space on the ground floor of the renovated building at 21 Water St. in Lebanon.

Bakery owners Michael and Catherine Santopadre had been working in a cramped space in the basement of their home and recently moved their operation into the custom-built modern bakery facility that is approximately four times the size of their old space, said Mike Davidson, owner of the real estate redevelopment company Execusuite LLC, which owns the building.

Since its inception in 2002, Three Little Birds has grown, and the Santopadres were handling all of the baking, production, packaging and deliveries from the 450-square-foot space in their home. Their breads and baked goods are sold at the area’s co-ops and other Upper Valley stores.

“I really enjoy mentoring small businesses. They needed a proper kitchen and state-inspected facility to keep growing, and they have that now. It’s great to see a family-owned bakery open in downtown Lebanon,” Davidson said.

The Hanover Co-op Food Stores has hired Paul Lambe, of Montpelier, as professional development manager. In this newly created position, Lambe will be responsible for managing the development, maintenance and delivery of staff development programs and organizational training.

Prior to joining the Co-op, Lambe worked as a professional trainer and mediator serving nonprofit organizations. He worked as an instructor and associate program director at Woodbury College’s Mediation and Conflict Management Program (now part of Champlain College, Burlington). Most recently he held the role of senior training consultant at National Life Group in Montpelier.

Upcoming Events

Vermont Small Business Development Center broadband business adviser Pat Ripley is presenting a free, interactive training focusing on expanding social media presence. The workshop is scheduled for Feb. 26, from 1-3 p.m., at Mascoma Savings Bank, 243 Sykes Mountain Ave., White River Junction. Participants will be introduced to social media outlets and management tools and shown how to track social media successes online. Bring a laptop computer if desired. This program is free but registration is required and space is limited. Sign up online at www.vtsbdc.org (click on the training tab) or email Heather Gonyaw at hgonyaw@vtsbdc.org.

Items of interest to the local business community are published every Sunday. Submissions may be mailed to: Business Notes, c/o Sunday Valley News, P.O. Box 877, White River Junction, Vt. 05001. You may also send your items by fax to 603-298-0212, or by e-mail to biznotes@vnews.com. All items are subject to editing for clarity or space.