Meriden City Council approves financing for Thompson Chocolate loan


MERIDEN — A proposed $500,000 loan for Thompson Brands will move forward after the City Council earlier this week approved a resolution to enable the loan’s financing. 

The council had originally approved the loan’s issuance during its March 7 meeting. 

However, the Meriden Manufacturing Assistance Program only had a balance of $282,000, not enough to cover the loan. So the council, during its Monday meeting, approved a resolution to issue $218,000 in bonds to fully fund the loan. 

While the council has authorized funding, the city still needs to finalize an agreement with Thompson before the loan is issued. 

Thompson, which was founded in Meriden in 1879, plans to use the funds to modernize and expand its production facility at 80 Vine St., said Joseph Feest, Meriden’s director of Economic Development. 

“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 labor intensive 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 around 90 employees, around 75% of whom are residents of Meriden. Among the company’s employees is Mayor Kevin Scarpati, who is sales and marketing manager.

City Councilor Michael Rohde chairs the council’s Economic Development, Housing and Zoning Committee as well as the Meriden Manufacturing Assistance Agency, which had recommended the loan. 

Rohde said the Manufacturing Assistance Program loan is specifically geared for local businesses. 

“Thompson, they’ve been a good company — one of the longest serving companies in Meriden,” Rohde said. “They employ a good number of Meriden residents. They have a good product. They’re on the world wide market.”

The MAP loan is the second such loan the city has made to Thompson. In 2006, Thompson received a $500,000 loan to consolidate its operations into one location. 

The council’s approval of the latest loan was delayed after procedural questions were raised related to its referral to the council in February. 

The Meriden Manufacturing Assistance Agency subsequently posted notice of a meeting for March 3, in which the agency discussed the application in closed executive session. The matter was subsequently referred to the council as a whole. The council approved the request at its subsequent meeting. 

Reporter Michael Gagne can be reached at mgagne@record-journal.com.

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