Friday, August 13, 2010

Chapter 9 - *&^%$#@!

The Telephone Call

(ring, ring)
Me:  "Hello, is this Square One?"
Square One:  "Yes, this is Square One."
Me: "I just wanted to let you know we'd be dropping back by for a visit."
Square One: "Oh--Should we make up the bed in the guest room?"
Me:  "No, there's no need for that.  We won't be staying long."
Square One: "Do you need directions on how to get here?"
Me: "No, we were just there a few months ago. We remember how to get there."

In case you haven't guessed, the AEDC funding didn't exactly go as planned.  I think they love us, they really do.  But the well is dry.  They don't have the amount of funds in the pot that we need.  So, we're back to Square One.  We haven't lost hope.  Don't think that.

I'm just really tired of Square One.  The decor there is dreadful, mid-80's mauve and it's just so, well, square.  That's what I get for asking for a verdict on Friday the 13th.  Monday, we're going to work on another option.  Plugging away.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chapter 8 - Stressful Trip, was the outcome worth it?

Hell YES!

Driving 24 Hours Straight Never Gets Old (I’m lying).

The July Board Meeting of the Essex County Industrial Development Agency was on Tuesday, July 20th. Standard practice is for the applicants to make a brief presentation at the meeting. We left for New York after work on Friday, July 16th and drove straight through, rotating drivers every couple hours. Those that weren’t driving were sawing some serious logs in the back seat. Very sorry we don’t have video.

We arrived at the property on Saturday night around 11:30 and thought we would try to get the well started after being gone all winter. As Dennis was pouring the water into the pump to prime it, it began gushing out from a big crack in the case. All the safeguards we took before we left were for nothing, it froze anyway. So, that meant we were buying a new pump in the morning. Can we say “unexpected cost”, boys and girls?

We got up in the morning, piled in the car and headed to Lowe’s in Ticonderoga. We said hello to our favorite Lowe’s employee, Erin Burke (the best commercial sales rep EVER) and picked out a good pump from the plumbing department.

After getting the pump installed, Dennis spent the day getting the well working. Chip, Renae and I spent the day moving tires out off the front of the property. The day was long and we were sweaty, but at least we could take a hot shower.

Monday morning, Carol Calabrese stopped by the property for a site inspection. We passed with flying colors. That afternoon we had pictures printed for handouts at the meeting. While Chip was making dinner that night, Dennis, Renae and I pasted the pictures into a notebook to hand out for each Board member. Another project I wish we had video of.

Our time slot at the meeting was 9:20, one of the first of the day. We did our presentation, answered questions and waited anxiously for Carol’s phone call to give us the decision. Thankfully it was a yes!

We are very grateful to the Essex County IDA Board, Carol Calabrese and Karen Stehlin for helping to make our dream a reality. The next step is approval for the construction portion of the loan from the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation. August 10th is their meeting.

Wish us luck!

After getting the good news, we were able to relax a little bit. We spent the rest of our time gorging ourselves on ice cream, swimming in the river (brrr!), chilling by the camp fire, and roasting marshmallows which reminded us why we love this place so much.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chapter 7 - Tire Debacle and Funding Hide 'n Seek

Whoever Said This Would Be Easy?

After the gents came home, we worked steadily on getting funding. As a last resort, we decided that we would try applying through the Essex County Industrial Development Agency. They specialize in offering funding to businesses when they cannot get funding through traditional sources.

The application itself is only six pages, but the supporting documentation killed several trees. The business plan alone was about 20 pages. We drafted and researched and drafted some more through the holidays. The process was coming along quite nicely.

And then…disaster struck on December 27. Chip got three phone calls within minutes of each other telling us that the dumpster company had finally come to pick up the last of the scrap metal and in the process, dumped two loads of tires at the front of our property. Holy cow, they’re back. The tires were back. After days of getting those suckers in dumpsters, they brought them back. We didn’t understand why 1) they took so long to collect the last dumpster for credit and 2) why they didn’t credit the metal to our balance before deciding we owed them money and returning the tires.

We tried on our own and through our lawyer to resolve the issue with absolutely no response. At this point, we’ve decided to just let it go. It’s frustrating that they undid days of work and took our scrap metal, but we’re experts at taking lemons and making lemonade. This project has taught us valuable lessons and we’re chalking it all up to experience.

On April 29th, we submitted our application package to Carol Calabrese at IDA. She asked that Karen Stehlin with the North Country Small Business Development Center review it and offer her input. We revised it based on Karen’s observations and submitted the final in late May, too late to make the June board meeting cut off. But we made the July meeting…

Details to follow in the next post.