MIDDLEBURY — The first shovel recently broke ground for the new Middlebury Pediatric Dentistry building at Middlebury South Village, on 120 Court St. (Route 7) in Middlebury.
Participating in the April 18 ceremony were Dr. Brian Collins, a pediatric dentist and owner of both the new practice and the building; representatives of the Addison County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC), the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA), and the National Bank of Middlebury; and Christopher Huston, project architect, of Bread Loaf Corporation.
While practicing part-time at UVM Medical Center, Collins realized that many of his patients traveled to Burlington from Rutland and Addison counties.
“There has never been a pediatric dentist in Addison County,” he noted, and it became his goal to open a local practice.
Collins also chose to finance locally. Ultimately, the National Bank of Middlebury, VEDA and ACEDC have collaborated to make his dream a reality. His experience working with VEDA and ACEDC has been “very positive, they were interested in why I’m doing what,” he said. “I learned a lot,” he added. The match-up has been a win-win for all involved.
“This project came to us,” said CEO Steve Greenfield. “We felt there was a need in the market, based on data they had and the applicant’s business plan,” Greenfield said. Greenfield describes VEDA as a “quasi-state entity,” empowered by statute since 1974 to foster job creation in Vermont by making loans to businesses from its revolving loan fund.
For its part, ACEDC provides gap financing between other funding sources and the borrower’s own equity contribution. A nonprofit corporation based in Middlebury, ACEDC assists business startups, expansions and relocations to Addison County.
“We are the resource for businesses in our county to get what they need, the first-stop-shop,” said Executive Director Robin Scheu. “Projects are not likely to happen if we don’t jump in there with this financing.”
The source of ACEDC funds is USDA Rural Development’s Intermediary Relending Program. Like VEDA, ACEDC sees its role as helping with job creation.
“We aren’t just helping out the business owner, but we’re helping citizens of our communities,” Scheu said. “Who doesn’t want a good job close to home?”
Dr. Collins described his practice as “pediatricians of the mouth.” The focus is on long-term dental disease prevention through diet and education of both parents and kids, in addition to eliminating the anxiety factor of visiting the dentist.
Chris Huston, vice-president of architecture at Bread Loaf and lead architect for Dr. Collins’ clinic, has designed a building that is highly efficient, compatible with Middlebury architectural styles, and inviting, with a colorful, “playful” lobby.
“It’s rewarding when we’re designing a building that serves the broader community, to be part of our community in that way,” Huston said.