Meriden City Council Approves Thompson Chocolate Loan Funding
MERIDEN — A proposed $500,000 loan for Thompson Brands will go ahead after city council earlier this week approved a resolution to allow funding for the loan.
The board originally approved the loan issuance at its March 7 meeting.
However, Meriden’s Manufacturing Assistance Program only had a balance of $282,000, which was not enough to cover the loan. So the board, at its meeting on Monday, approved a resolution to issue $218,000 in bonds to fully fund the loan.
Although the council authorized the financing, the city still has to finalize an agreement with Thompson before the loan can be granted.
Thompson, which was founded in Meriden in 1879, plans to use the funds to modernize and expand its production plant at 80 Vine St., said Joseph Feest, director of economic development for Meriden.
“Thompson is one of the oldest companies in the city of Meriden,” Feest said, describing the proposed improvements as an opportunity to modernize the company’s operations – from research to production.
“It’s a very laborious process,” Feest said. It’s an opportunity to improve the production of what Feest described as a “really good chocolate product.”
According to officials, the company currently has a workforce of about 90 employees, of which about 75% are residents of Meriden. Among the company’s employees is Mayor Kevin Scarpati, Director of Sales and Marketing.
Councilman Michael Rohde chairs the council’s economic development, housing and zoning committee as well as the Meriden Manufacturing Assistance Agency, which recommended the loan.
Rohde said the Manufacturing Assistance Program loan is specifically for local businesses.
“Thompson, they’ve been a good company – one of Meriden’s oldest companies,” Rohde said. “They employ a good number of Meriden residents. They have a good product. They are on the world market.
The MAP loan is the second such loan the city has extended to Thompson. In 2006, Thompson received a $500,000 loan to consolidate operations into one location.
Board approval of the latest loan has been delayed after procedural issues were raised relating to his return to the board in February.
Meriden’s manufacturing support agency then issued a notice of meeting for March 3, during which the agency discussed the request in a closed executive session. The matter was then referred to the council as a whole. The board approved the request at its next meeting.
Journalist Michael Gagné can be reached at [email protected]