The owners of Blake Hill Preserves in Windsor are the 2022 Vermont small business persons of the year. Vicky Allard and Joe Hanglin are being recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration for Blake Hill Preserves’ employment growth, success in the marketplace, company expansion and community involvement.
“We feel so honored for Blake Hill Preserves to be recognized by the SBA with this special award,” said Allard. “We started our business in our home kitchen in 2009 with the simple desire to make the most delicious jams from the season’s finest produce and have been so appreciative of our customers’ love for our unique creations and our team’s amazing commitment to help ensure we continue to exemplify the very best artisan products and service in an environment of continuous rapid growth.”
The home-based business didn’t last long. Every few years the company seems to double in size. By 2012 Blake Hill Preserves settled into a 2,000 square foot commercial kitchen, then moved to a brand new 6,000 square foot facility in 2016, which is now being extended to 12,000 square feet. To help facilitate its previous expansion, the company obtained twoSBA 7(a) loans and is currently working to obtain a 504 loan for its newest expansion. It has also grown from a husband and wife team to having 45 employees.
Allard and Hanglin were nominated for the award by Marie Dussault of the Vermont Economic Development Authority and Patricia Putnam of Mascoma Bank. In a joint statement the two said, “the past six years the company has experienced tremendous growth and have placed their products and the state of Vermont on the national stage with all their awards and accolades. We strongly believe they embody the spirit and commitment a small business should have in Vermont.”
The state has countless small business resources and Blake Hill Preserves has worked with several of them throughout the years. Allard is a graduate of the SBA Vermont 2018 Emerging Leaders class which assisted Blake Hill Preserves with creating a three-year strategic growth plan. After completing Emerging Leaders, Allard and Hanglin worked with SCORE and the Vermont Small Business Development Center to implement its strategic plan. Its facility was built by Springfield Regional Development Corporation and financed by VEDA. During the pandemic Blake Hill Preserves utilized two Paycheck Protection loans to keep its staff on the payroll.
“SBA, VEDA, SCORE and SRDC’s support in our facility needs and through thoughtful leadership programs has been invaluable in our growth environment,” said Allard.
Each year Vermont small businesses compete for a variety of awards in addition to Small Business Person of the Year. In 2022, the SBA awarded seven businesses in other categories.
Other awardees include:
- Vermont Roadworks in Brattleboro is the Woman-Owned Business of the Year
- KAD Models & Prototypes in East Randolph is the Veteran-Owned Business of the Year
- The Freighthouse Market & Cafe in Lyndonville is the Family-Owned Business of the Year
- Global Village Foods in Windsor is the Minority-Owned Business of the Year
- Maria Lara-Bregatta of Café MamaJuana in Burlington is the Young Entrepreneur of the Year
- Fat Sheep Farm in Windsor is the Microenterprise of the Year
- Phasey in Burlington is the Exporter of the Year
“The Vermont winners are great examples of businesses that are helping to build a better America through Entrepreneurship,” said Mike Vlacich, SBA New England Regional Administrator. “These business owners demonstrate the resiliency and tenacity of entrepreneurs across Vermont. They have proven their staying power, they create jobs, have shown response to adversity during unimaginable setbacks and they give back to their communities through their businesses and on their own time. I congratulate them on their achievements and the part they are playing in powering our nation’s historic economic comeback.”
Allard and Hanglin, and the other Vermont small business winners will receive their awards during the 2022 Vermont Small Business Awards Ceremony cohosted with Vermont Business Magazine June 16. The ceremony is open to the public and registration will be available in May.