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A Small-Town Bookstore and a Woman’s Comeback

Financial and Social Impact

  • Duprey got her business off the ground, repaired the damages to her home, and improved her credit
  • Next Chapter Bookstore is a thriving, driving Barre, Vermont’s business district revitalization

When parts of Vermont were flooded in 2011 by the remnants of Hurricane Irene, Cynthia Duprey was among the victims.

She and her family lost their home, but as they rebuilt Cynthia had the realization that now was the time to pursue a lifelong dream of opening a bookstore.

Flood-related setbacks had left her with bad credit, however, and banks turned her down when she asked for startup money. Cynthia said, “Conventional methods of borrowing were not an option for me.”

Community Capital of Vermont―which provides business loans for as little as $1,000―loaned Cynthia $40,000. Working in her favor were the facts that she had deep local roots and that Community Capital of Vermont saw her work as a potential spark for broader economic development in a business district that has struggled in recent years.

Today Cynthia prides her bookstore’s diversity of titles and its ambience―customers can hang out in the reading loft and children get to explore the in-store tree house.  She says Next Chapter Bookstore is as much about building community as it is about entrepreneurship, and she isn’t afraid to plug her fellow merchants.

“Sit down and browse,” she tells visitors.  “Go next door for a great cup of coffee.”

(Date of loan: 2011. Date of story publication: 2012)