Belknap EDC Loan Program Helps Write Next Chapter for Winnipesaukee Cleaning
She was only in high school when Tabitha Perkins first started cleaning homes. Little did she know back then that it was only the beginning of something bigger. A business built from scratch, Winnipesaukee Cleaning was born in 2002 in Meredith, NH where it still lives today.
Things look much different now though. Winnipesaukee Cleaning went from a solo operation, serving only commercial clients, to now an operation that requires upwards of 30 employees in the summer months (15 in the winter) to serve its many commercial AND residential clients throughout Meredith and the Lakes Region.
In the last ten years, Winnipesaukee Cleaning has seen a great increase in business and while that’s great news, it brought forth some challenges. This is where Belknap EDC was able to step in and help.
Like many Lakes Region businesses, Winnipesaukee Cleaning experiences an uptick in business during the summer months thanks to the Region’s many seasonal residents. To meet the staffing needs required to handle the extra work, Winnipesaukee Cleaning turned to welcoming foreign students to their seasonal team.
The extra help was great; only the housing challenges were not. With a shortage of housing, Winnipesaukee Cleaning was renting wherever they could, renting homes all over the area with their staff essentially scattered; some in areas convenient to get to work and others not. It was a real challenge and that’s when Winnipesaukee Cleaning decided it was time to shift gears and buy a property of their own.
Luckily, the Bear Tree Lodge in Meredith was for sale. The property seemed to be the perfect solution to solving both their needs for staff housing and a larger space to serve as their headquarters. It was a great opportunity they did not want to miss.
And, so their funding journey began. Time and again, they seemed to hit roadblocks in their search for a bank that would approve such a loan.
“Approve a business loan during a pandemic? That’s crazy talk!”
“You want to purchase a property that would also make you a landlord?! No way!”
“We’ll work with you, but you need to provide A, B, C, and X, Y, Z documents and perhaps your left arm and right foot.”
“Enough already,” thought Tabitha and her daughter, Cortland Findlay who helps her manage the business. It was all so frustrating.
But, things started to look up when they went to David Weed at Service Credit Union. He tried everything and when he did as much as he could, he suggested bringing in Belknap EDC to provide the additional funding.
With Belknap EDC and Service Credit Union working together to provide two loans, Winnipesaukee Cleaning was finally able to close on their purchase of Bear Tree Lodge on February 15th of 2021.
Cortland describes her experience with Belknap EDC as “easy” and “stress free.”
Justin was able to drill down to what information and paperwork was truly necessary for Winnipesaukee Cleaning to provide. Cortland and Tabitha provided what was needed, and Justin (Belknap EDC) and David (Service Credit Union) handled the rest.
“It was a wonderful process that really opened the door for me to all that Belknap EDC does for small businesses like ours,” states Cortland. “They’re willing to work with your creativity and run with your ideas. Justin was extremely helpful with everything.”
The purchase of Bear Tree Lodge means a lot to the long-term growth of Winnipesaukee Cleaning allowing them to build a garage space, provide housing to staff and be their full-time headquarters.
Cortland reflects, “To think…just 11 years ago my mother was working out of her house and here we are now, moving from a rental space to a place we’ll own, all with the ability to stay in Meredith. We’re all very excited about this next chapter of Winnipesaukee Cleaning.”