The town of Bellows Falls, Vermont has experienced tough economic times, especially after the closure of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in 2014. So, Vermont Rural Ventures (VRV)* partnered with Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC) to keep – and add to – jobs in Bellows Falls.
The two organizations provided $21.5MM in New Markets Tax Credits financing to expand production and office space and to purchase new manufacturing equipment for Chroma Technology, headquartered in Bellows Falls.
Chroma, an employee-owned and certified B Corporation, is a manufacturer of high-performance optical filters used in medical and industrial sectors and an employer of 126 people worldwide. With the expansion, the facility was reconfigured, resulting in better utilization of space for improved production, efficiencies, and quality control. The increased production capacity will help Chroma meet its growing demand – and Chroma stayed in Bellows Falls and is working to add 28 jobs over the next few years.
Chroma attracted financing from People’s United Bank as well as Vermont Economic Development Authority, Town of Rockingham, and Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) sponsored the project.
“The BDCC understands the economic realities our rural Vermont businesses face each day our team has developed the ability to support companies with their daily workforce and operational needs as well as facilitating large expansion projects such as the one we celebrate here today,” said BDCC Executive Director Adam Grinold. “We are committed to ensuring every employer who has the business to grow, has the resources to stay and grow here in Southern Vermont!”
The expansion at Chroma helped to provide economic stability in a community where the labor market was experiencing out-migration and high unemployment. A majority of the new jobs were entry-level positions with no degree or formal technical training required for employment.
In November 2018, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, Governor Phil Scott, and local officials joined Paul Millman, president of employee-owned Chroma Technology Corp, at an event celebrating the completion of the expansion.
“This project has been a team effort, combining federal, state and local resources to retain and create good jobs in Windham County,” said Governor Scott. “This public-private partnership will help strengthen Windham County’s economic future, which is so important as the region continues to feel the effects of losing Vermont Yankee jobs.”
*With the merger of Housing Vermont and Northern New England Housing Investment Fund in July, 2020, Vermont Rural Ventures became Evernorth Rural Ventures.