Burke Furniture Maker Receives Grant

Burke FurnitureBURKE – A local furniture company has streamlined its manufacturing process thanks to a grant from the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative. Doug Clarner, co-founder of the Vermont Table Company, purchased a laser printer with the funding, which totaled $9,000.

With the addition of the printer, Clarner can now engrave furniture on-site at the shop.

"It's allowed us to bring our lasering part of the business in-house and made it much more efficient and cost effective," he explained.

Before buying the printer, Clarner says he had to travel a half hour away to use someone else's machine.

The grant is one of 36 recently awarded to agriculture and forestry operations in Vermont. The total price tag of the initiative is just over $1 million. Those overseeing the grant funding believe it is well spent in an effort to boost the state's economy, particularly in those sectors.

"These grants fund critical leverage points in the supply chain," said Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross. "They remove pinch points and open up commerce so that the economy can grow."

As a small furniture company with limited funds, the Vermont Table Company is making the most of the opportunity.

"They walked us right through it and we just feel very fortunate to have been awarded the grant," Clarner said.

He plans to use the new laser printer to design high-quality furniture with customizable engravings. The main focus will be tables at first, but he hopes to expand to other items in the future.

"It will allow us to increase our production, increase quality, and just really cut cost."

Applications for 2016 working lands grants will be accepted starting October 1.