When the deep snows of 2011 lasted almost ‘til April, and a freak October snowstorm left them without power for a week, and a global recession continued to keep garden sales sluggish, Gledhill Nursery President and CEO Sean Powell knew just where to turn for help: the State of Connecticut’s new Small Business Express Program, which has just loaned Gledhill Nursery $100,000 in working capital.
“This loan just bailed us out,” Powell said today as he toured the 90-year-old family facility on Mountain Road with state Sen. Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), who voted for the multi-million dollar package of business loans and grants last October as part of the General Assembly’s comprehensive and bipartisan Jobs Bill.
“I really got a strong sense that the state is trying to help small businesses,” Powell said. “I got a great feeling as soon as I received the acceptance letter."
“I knew this Jobs Bill was going to pay dividends as soon as I voted for it,” Bye said. “Gledhill Nursery has been a West Hartford institution for 90 years. If there was ever a place to plant a state loan with the hopes of seeing growth, Gledhill is the place.”
Gledhill’s garden center and gift shop is using the $100,000, low-interest (2%) loan to help make payroll and to pay for tens of thousands of dollars in spring inventory. Powell said state loan “kept us from laying off people.”
“It gave us a big breather. Normally we have more cash on hand in the spring, and we were tapped out,” Powell said. “If our accountant hadn’t known about this state program I don’t know what would have happened to us. We would have had to go to our regular banks, and I don’t now if we would have been approved.”
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced May 16 that Gledhill is just the latest in a series of small Connecticut companies that are benefitting from the Small Business Express Program (EXP), which is providing $100 million to help Connecticut’s small businesses hire more employees and fund capital investments. The program, administered by the state Department of Economic and Community Development, offers loans and matching grants to Connecticut companies with fewer than 50 employees.
“Small businesses need access to capital to reach new customers,” Malloy said. “The Small Business Express Program is giving these already-successful businesses a path to obtain the funding they need to retain and grow jobs.”
Submitted by Senate Democrats.