Ben's Sugar Shack
Ben Fisk started boiling maple sap on a homemade evaporator on his parents’ property in Temple, N.H. when he was 5 years old. At age 15, his was named the best syrup in New Hampshire. Fast-forward another decade and Ben’s Sugar Shack’s maple products were sold online and in grocery stores around the region. With demand spiking in 2014, Ben needed capital to purchase more syrup during the start of the maple sugaring season.
Ben needed access to capital early in the sugaring season, before he generated significant receivables or inventory. A traditional bank line of credit, which requires collateral, wouldn’t solve his problem. He needed a flexible line of credit that allowed him to purchase maple syrup at the best prices early in the year.
Why the Community Loan Fund made the loan
Ben clearly had the skills to manage his business, including the seasonal ups and downs. We made capital available in the beginning of the year, which allowed him to negotiate better prices from vendors, increase his margins, and become more profitable.
Ben repaid his loan in less than one year. Along the way, his work with a business consultant improved his financial reporting systems, which enabled him to obtain a larger loan from us the next year. Ben now has a revolving line of credit from the Community Loan Fund that he can draw on to support his early-season inventory purchases every year, giving him the confidence that financing will be there to support his company’s growth.
Annual report article: Farm Food Initiative helps meet demand for healthy local food