By Amanda Kuhnert
With retirement quickly approaching, John and Joey Claflin envisioned a second career that would give them the financial freedom to travel and spend time with family. Both John and Joey are deeply rooted in Springfield, Vt., and liked the idea of owning a community-centered business. So when Morse’s Market, a grocery store and deli in North Springfield, went up for sale, they made an offer.
John and Joey both had business experience—Joey had been running an at-home daycare center for nearly two decades, and John, a 20-year veteran at Springfield Fire Department, moonlighted for his family’s food-service company. But the process of purchasing an existing business was new territory.
“We quickly realized that we needed a lot of guidance with writing a business plan that would get approval from our bank,” John said. “We were using a template for a business plan that we found online, and we were missing a lot of details and calculations that were necessary to getting the financing that we needed.”
A friend suggested they reach out to the Springfield Regional Development Corp. (SRDC) and the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC). “Working with Debra Boudrieau (VtSBDC) and Bob Flint (SRDC) and Bob Flint (SRDC) gave us insights that we never would have come up with on our own,” John said. “We took their advice and used it to grow our own ideas in the best business we could make.”
The couple worked closely with Boudrieau developing P&L projections for their loan application. “We spent many hours discussing our profit-and-loss projections,” John said. “Once I understood the importance of setting realistic projections in the world of Covid, things made more sense, and I understood how a bank would respond.”
The startup process was filled with other “ah ha” moments for the Claflins. Along with developing sound financials, John said his advisors helped them understand the importance of staying on top of their numbers. “A small, even 1 percent adjustment to our COGS can make a huge impact to the bottom line,” he said. They also learned the importance of never giving up. “When it looks like you have exhausted all possibilities, take a step back and find another way,” he said.
JC’s Market & Deli, located at 444 Giddings Street in North Springfield, Vt., opened for business in May 2021. They offer custom-made grinders, daily lunch specials, and a selection of grocery items. They’re open Monday through Friday, 6-7; Saturdays 8-6; and Sundays 8-3. For more info, visit jcsmarketdeli.com.
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