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Business Notes: Title Loan Company Opens in West Lebanon

West Lebanon — Title Cash of N.H. is opening a new lending operation in the old post office building on Main Street, the business owner said last week.

Title Cash started in the state last year and has 15 other New Hampshire locations, including one in Claremont, said Roy Hutcheson, who started the company in 1994 and now operates 200 offices in 13 states.

“We’ve been looking at Lebanon for some time, and it seems like a good location,” he said.

The company, which is part of Hutcheson Enterprises Inc., based in Huntsville, Ala., will make 10-month loans from $500 to $30,000 with no credit checks. The loans are secured by free and clear titles on vehicles, Hutcheson said.

“We offer services for people who have financial problems, have no credit and need money in a hurry,” he said. “As long as they have a car with a clear title that has some value, we’ll lend them money.”

Annual interest rates on the loans range from 128 percent to 300 percent, an average of about 10 percent a month or more.

“Our losses are significant. We have a very high failure rate — only about 25 percent of our loans get paid back — so we have to charge high interest to make any money,” Hutcheson said. Repossessed vehicles are sold to dealers, at auction or for scrap, he said.

“I don’t want to be in the car business. We have enough to do to manage 200 stores.”

Hutcheson started the business after a long career with Barclays Bank and saw a lending area that was not being covered by the banks. “We are filling a need and helping people who have nowhere else to go,” he said.

The post office building was occupied until a couple of months ago by College Cleaners, which opened there in October 2012 after losing its lease on space in the Co-op Food Store in Centerra Park, where the business had operated for the last 10 years. College Cleaners has operated in the Upper Valley for 76 years.

The postal service moved out of the 1,281-square-foot Main Street building in August 2011 and relocated to a new facility on Benning Street behind Shaw’s supermarket in West Lebanon.

College Cleaners has a main store in Hanover and a drop off and pick-up facility in the Laundry Room in Woodstock. The company cleaning plant is in White River Junction.

Company News

Smart Mobility Inc., a consulting firm that integrates transportation and land use modeling, engineering and planning, is moving its main office into Billings Common Office Condominium Park in Wilder.

The company, which was established in 2001, specializes in developing advanced tools and techniques for travel demand modeling, regional air quality modeling and analysis of land use and transportation systems, with a goal of developing more meaningful indicators from regional transportation models.

Owned and operated by Norm Marshall, Smart Mobility manages projects in more than 20 states.

Lang McLaughry Commercial broker Bruce M. Waters represents the developer of Billings Common and assisted Smart Mobility in its search.

Upper Valley Wellness of Vermont has signed a long-term lease and will move into the Palmer Court Office Condominium Complex in Wilder this month.

Owned and operated by Ryan Crowley, a licensed acupuncturist, Upper Valley Wellness specializes in acupuncture therapy with other wellness techniques for the mind and body.

Upper Valley Wellness joins other therapists, a pilates clinic and a dermatology clinic already in Palmer Court, said Lang McLaughry Commercial broker Bruce M. Waters, who represents the building owner and assisted Crowley.

Upcoming Events

The Hartford Chamber of Commerce will provide an update of the recently enacted federal and state health care reforms during its next business breakfast, set for July 30 at the Coolidge Hotel on Main Street in White River Junction.

Speakers include Betsy Bishop and Shannon Wilson of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

The cost is $15. Breakfast and check-in are at 7:30 a.m., and the seminar begins at 8 a.m. and runs to 9:30 a.m.

Reservations must be made by July 25 by calling the chamber at 802-295-7900 or at Hartfordvtchamber.com.

Starting Your Own Business, a four-hour workshop being offered by the Vermont Small Business Development Center, will be held on Aug. 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the second floor conference room at the Hartford Municipal Building, 171 Bridge St.

The workshop is designed as a step-by-step guide for starting a business in Vermont for the first-time business owner.

Space is limited. Sign up online at www.vtsbdc.org (click on the training tab). For registration questions, please email hgonyaw@vtsbdc.org. Registration fee is $99 and includes a workbook in hardcopy and pdf format. For more information visit www.vtsbdc.org or contact Deb Eibner at 802-295-4230 or deibner@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.

Related

Letter: A Recipe for Personal Crisis

Monday, July 22, 2013

To the Editor: It greatly disturbed me to read in the July 14 Sunday Valley News that a car title loan operation is opening in West Lebanon. As a United Church of Christ pastor, I am well aware of the many Bible verses decrying “usury,” and that’s what high-interest car title lending is. Staff Writer Warren Johnston’s article describes a …

Letter: Danger of Car Title Loans

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

To the Editor: The Title Cash store opening in West Lebanon (“Title Loan Company Opens in W. Lebanon,” July 14) is a threat to our community. The United Valley Interfaith Project, comprised of 12 local faith communities and a soup kitchen, has strongly opposed car title lending for the past several years. Title loans are short-term loans secured by a …

Letter: Trapping Desperate People

Monday, August 5, 2013

To the Editor: Thank you for your reporting about auto title loans, which prey on working people in tight spots. In this tough economy, with little job growth and flat wages, many of our neighbors struggle to meet regular expenses. When something urgent and unexpected hits us — a doctor’s visit, medication, car repair, a high electric or gas bill …