SunCommonClient since 2012
SolarCommunities, Inc., DBA SunCommon is a Vermont Benefit Corporation & certified B Corp that provides residential and community solar installations, sporting the tagline ‘Save Money. Go Solar.’ M&M assisted the venture through various capital raises as it scaled exponentially from an idea by founders James Moore and Duane Peterson in 2012 (in collaboration with Vermont Public Interest Research Group) to a soon-to-be 9,000 sq. ft. net-zero facility hosting most of its 100 workers in Waterbury, Vermont. SunCommon is consistently recognized for its leadership, landing a spot in 2015’s Best Places to Work in Vermont and President Duane honored with Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility’s 2015 Terry Ehrich Award for outstanding dedication to socially responsible business practices.
“There’s a lot of moving parts to creating a new business. Our easiest decision was selecting the law firm to guide us. Ken Merritt’s deep experience in venture finance made him the obvious choice. We didn’t want cookie-cutter, and Ken’s knowledgeable creativity helped us fashion our structure and raises just our way. And his respected standing in the investor community gave comfort to our prospects that our offering was well-structured. Ken and his easy to work with team were invaluable in getting our business underway and guiding our steep growth phase since.” – Duane Peterson, President of SunCommon
SBE, Inc.Client since 2003
SBE, Inc. is a world-class developer and manufacturer of high-tech, film capacitor solutions that provide a much higher degree of reliability, higher power density and a simpler cooling infrastructure in demanding applications for customers worldwide, particularly for the electric vehicle, alternative energy, medical laser and large-scale uninterruptable power supply markets. The Company was founded in 2002 through the leveraged buy-out of SB Electronics and has built a 53,000 square foot facility in Barre, Vermont. M&M has assisted the Company since 2003 in its efforts to raise debt and equity capital through various series offerings and in securing a $9MM grant from the US Department of Energy.
“I have been working with M&M for over 20 years in various roles as CFO and Consultant. Whether their work was in support of required SEC filings when I was with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, helping structure various venture capital or other financings, advising on patent and trademark filings and infractions, or providing representation on litigation, Merritt & Merritt has always had the expertise and client attention to help my companies/clients and me be successful.” – Robert D. Britt, VP of Finance and Administration of SBE, Inc.
Hubbardton Forge designs and manufactures innovative hand-forged lighting and home furnishing accessories in Caslteton, Vermont. Beginning in 1974 in an old Vermont barn with two designers turned entrepreneurs, Hubbardton Forge is now the oldest and largest commercial forge in the United States, with over 200 employees! M&M has provided trademark, copyright, vendor and distribution advice to the company for over 20 years, and successfully settled numerous disputes with infringers, including infringements of design patents.
“Hubbardton Forge has been working with Sharon Merritt of Merritt & Merritt to protect its intellectual property for over fifteen years. We are a design-driven company and Sharon knows us well; our culture, our products and our competition. In addition to providing us with trademark and copyright advice, Sharon has successfully defended our trademarks, copyrights and design patents against infringers in the US and abroad, negotiating infringing product destruction, compensatory damages and royalty payments to Hubbardton Forge without costly and time-consuming litigation. Having a partner like Sharon helps us stay ahead of the curve in an industry where most products are manufactured overseas and original designs are frequently knocked-off.” – Lyn Brown, New Product Manager of Hubbardton Forge
Vermont Smoke and Cure
VSC Holdings, Inc. DBA Vermont Smoke and Cure (VSC) is a Vermont Benefit Corporation that crafts world-class smoked meats, including sausage, bacon, and ham, employing local farmers since ‘62. With a tagline like “Damn Fine” – you know it’s good! M&M supported the company as it rapidly developed from a company with a large regional presence in New England to a national brand. We assisted VSC in transacting several debt & equity financings, including a substantial investment by the private equity firm VMG Partners (see press). Recently, VSC has been featured in the Boston Globe and on the Today Show’s “Best Holiday Gifts to Mail Order”.
American Flatbread Burlington Hearth
Third Place, Inc. DBA American Flatbread Burlington Hearth is a restaurant chain serving wood-fired oven pizzas and craft beer, built on values of food integrity and sustainability. Opened the restaurant in 2004, the restaurant has been awarded ‘Business of the Year’ by the Burlington Business Association and ‘Best Pizza’ by Seven Daysies 2015. M&M assisted the founders in raising over $1MM in a private equity offering to finance the opening of the Farmhouse Tap & Grille, and over $1MM in a private equity offering to launch Zero Gravity Brewery, a craft brewer with a “world-class” BeerAdvocate Overall Score of 96/100 and a subsidiary of Third Place.
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Hill Farmstead Brewery is a small-scale brewery close to the Canadian border in Greensboro, Vermont, and we aren’t exaggerating when we say they are producing some of the best beer in the world! Named 2015 Best Brewery in Vermont, the United States, and the World by RateBeer (the world’s largest beer review and rating website), Founder and brewmaster Shaun Hill works tirelessly to create top-notch, highly sought after craft beer, garnering attention from Vanity Fair and The New York Times. M&M has assisted the business with various matters including trademark protection, seed financing, and lending agreements.
Vermont Coffee Company
Voted ‘Best Coffee Roaster’ in Vermont by Seven Days, Vermont Coffee Company markets fair trade, organic coffee throughout New England. A community-based roaster, their motto is ‘Coffee Roasted for Friends’. Company Founder and President Paul Ralston started roasting in a garage in Bristol, Vermont. The company now occupies a 15,000 sq. ft. facility in Middlebury with over 20 employees and an onsite café. The company’s growth has been internally financed through cash flow. M&M has assisted the company in protecting its valuable intellectual property and has managed transactions on behalf of the company for over a decade.
“I have been a client of Merritt & Merritt since the late 1980s. Over the years, they have provided me and my companies with strategic counsel and legal services across all matters of business. We have worked together on contracts, intellectual property, key-people compensation, capital formation, and the sale of a business. They are problem solvers. In the one case we needed to go to court to prosecute a contract violation, they won big time. Merritt & Merritt is a hard-working firm that brings high-value, high-touch service to our growing companies. As an entrepreneur, I value their quick and nimble response to my legal needs. As a friend, I value their honest insight and unflinching advice. My relationship with their firm is one of the best things that has happened in my business life.” – Paul Ralston, Founder/CEO of Vermont Coffee Company
Vermont Natural Coatings
Vermont Natural Coatings provides natural wood finish products consistent with high-performing environmental standards. In collaboration with chemists at the University of Vermont, Founder Andrew Meyer developed a better, safer, and greener solution for wood finishes, bringing PolyWhey® to the marketplace from Hardwick, Vermont. M&M processes and protects the company’s trademarks and has assisted in its raising significant investor capital in private offerings.
“Navigating the startup phase while raising capital for Vermont Natural Coatings was unknown territory for me. The team at Merritt & Merritt provided the expertise, guidance and flexibility that helped build our company and investment structure in a way that met our needs while giving us the greatest chance for success. As our business grows, M&M continues to be a valued partner.” Andrew Meyer, President/Founder of Vermont Natural Coatings
With a mission to help families explore the world together, Bitybean is a Vermont-based startup that designs and markets innovative, lightweight, convenient baby products. Since incorporation in 2012, the company has raised three rounds of seed capital and their ultra-compact baby carrier (folds into the size of a bottle) has won many awards in baby-related networks including “Innovation Award” from Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. “Best in Show” at NY Baby Show, “Best Value Baby Carrier” by Fit Pregnancy Magazine, and “Best of the Year” by Family Review Center. Check them out!