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Company News


January 8, 2019

CIC Vice President, Buck Harris, on GoLocalProv


CIC borrower and business owner, Robin Silva, of Piccolo in Barrington, RI

The Rhode Island Small Business Assistance Program, which provides loans through Community Investment Corporation and other private lenders, in partnership with Commerce RI, has already gained traction in the Ocean State since it’s launch in November of 2016. 

We are pleased to be able to offer our clients yet another form of the Lending PowerTM that creates the 'CIC difference'.

The following CIC clients have taken advantage of this new program. 

A. Macari Construction – Providence – $200,000

Anchor Health and Performance – Bristol – $42,000

Casa Mexico – Providence – $158,000

Cocofuel – Cranston – $41,000

Piccolo – Barrington – $150,000

Reymond's Brother Tailor Shop and Laudromat – Cranston – $100,000

RI Organic Dressings – Narragansett – $75,000

Sin Bakery – Providence $15,000



Rich Evans-lowres.jpg


Rich Evans comes to CIC after 24 years in the banking industry, spending the last 14 years in small business and commercial lending. Rich started his banking career with The Bank of New Haven in 1993, spent 12 years at Bank of America/Fleet Bank, then transitioned to community banking in the New Haven area.Rich has covered much of CT throughout his banking career and sincerely enjoys the diversity of business lending.

Rich earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Economics from the University of Bridgeport, was a graduate of Fleet Bank’s Business Credit Program and is also a graduate of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program.









The National Association of Development Companies (NADCO) holds an annual Spring summit in Washington, D.C. This key event is aimed at helping economic development companies like CIC navigate all the regulations, policy, compliance and eligibility issues facing the CDC industry. 

Community Investment Corporation sends key members of our team each year to learn, share ideas, and brainstorm about ways in which we can better serve the small business entrepreneur in our region. The NADCO summit is also a great time for us to meet with our congressional representatives to discuss matters that are important to companies like ours that provide alternative lending programs to business owners.

CIC is committed to providing outstanding service and guidance to our client borrowers. Our experience at NADCO summits consistently results in process improvements, enhanced knowledge of SBA programs, and ultimately makes us a better resource for the borrower. 

Community Investment Corporation Wins 2017 Rhode Island SBA Director's Award



The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced the winners of the 2017 Small Business Awards. Community Investment Corporation is honored to be recognized as the Rhode Island SBA Director's Award winner. This particular award is meant to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the small business community in the Ocean State.

The award ceremony, which honors the exemplary small businesses in the state of Rhode Island, will be held at the Alpine Country Club in Cranston during National Small Business Week. The CIC Lending Team will be in attendance to accept the award.


Casa Mexico Grows with Rhode Island Small Business Loan Funds



Casa Mexico, an authentic Mexican market in Providence, RI, recently re-opened their doors thanks to a joint loan program by CIC and Rhode Island Commerce Corporation.

Through the Rhode Island Small Business Loan Fund, CIC helped finance this project with Community Advantage and SBA MicroLoans. Both of these programs play an important role in our economic growth as they aim to fill the gap in financing that small and mid-sized businesses face.

This new Rhode Island loan program provides over five million dollars in small business financing, and CIC is looking for small businesses that are ready to grow. Is yours one of them?

Contact us for information. 



MicroNOW Loan Amount Increases to $15,000


CIC's unique MicroNOW loan program has a new maximum loan amount of $15,000. Previously capped at $7,500, this SBA microloan is available to businesses that have been operating for at least one year, and whose owners have good personal credit. Click here for more information »



Aya Beckles Swanson, Vice President Community Lending of Community Investment Corp., received the 2016 CEDAS Member of the Year Award, which recognizes a member who has exhibited true leadership in economic development in Connecticut and has implemented an initiative that demonstrates real results and outcomes in the past year.

Born and raised in Barbados, Ms. Beckles Swanson came to the U.S. to attend the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music where she majored in music business and foreign languages. Years later, while working for the New Haven Jazz Festival and reaching out to area businesses to encourage their involvement in the festival, she recognized her interest in economic and business development. She held municipal economic development roles in the towns of East Hartford and Meriden, and her current position in Community Lending gives her the opportunity to work hands-on with small businesses and entrepreneurs. Ms. Beckles Swanson recently became a U.S. Citizen and is a resident of Clinton.






HAMDEN, CT (October 28, 2016) – For the 15th consecutive year, Community Investment Corporation (CIC), a small business lender based in Hamden, has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as the top lender in CT for its SBA 504 Loan program. The 504 program is a significant source of funding for small businesses in Connecticut, providing financing for owner-occupied real estate, including renovation or ground up construction, and for machinery and equipment.

Overall, CIC’s combined SBA program activity totaled $24.3M, the highest dollar volume in CT.

CIC is an economic development organization dedicated to providing small businesses with both access to capital and business expansion loan programs. In addition to its financing programs CIC provides business counseling, training and technical assistance to the companies it serves.

Mark Cousineau, president of Community Investment Corporation said that “We are grateful for the SBA’s recognition and the faith they have put in our organization to fulfill their mission of providing critical funding to small businesses. We appreciate our partnership with the SBA and the banking community with whom we partner to provide these loans. We fully expect continued expansion of lending activity this fiscal year.”

CIC manages three primary loan programs:

  • SBA 504 Financing of owner-occupied real estate, including renovation or ground up construction and for machinery and equipment.
  • Community Advantage Loans typically range between $50,000 and $150,000 made to borrowers who are not quite ready for traditional financing, but have the character and experience needed to be successful.
  • MicroLoans up to $50,000 to companies not yet ready for traditional financing. Business consulting services both pre-and post loan are provided to aid in the success of the micro business. MicroNow is a quick turnaround option for loans up to $7,500. MicroNow loans are available to borrowers in business for over 1 year with good personal credit. 



CIC SBA 504 Borrower Receives Coveted Hartford Business Journal Award


Our congratulations goes to another successful #CIC #SBA504 borrower this month.

Derrick Gibbs, Jr., CEO of Change Incorporated, is a 2016 recipient of the Hartford Business Journal's 40 Under Forty Award. Winners of this award are chosen by an independent panel of judges as outstanding young professionals in the Greater Hartford area who are excelling in their industries through leadership roles.

At age 30, Derrick manages 35 employees who are the mainstay of Change Incorporated. The company was established in 2009 as a provider of community-based home care and behavioral health services, such as homemaking assistance, companion services, personal care, case management, and counseling. Derrick’s mission for Change Inc. is to empower and promote positive change through compassionate care and clinical excellence. According to the professional community in Connecticut and the panel of judges deciding this year’s 40 Under Forty, Change Inc. is meeting their mission and much more!

Derrick recently purchased a building for his company headquarters in Middletown, Connecticut. The lending partnership of Community Investment Corporation and Farmington Bank provided a $305,000 SBA 504 loan to help Derrick complete that purchase.

Congratulations, Derrick! CIC is proud to be a part of your company's growth.

Read more about Derrick’s award at http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/



Small Business Financing Firm Opens Rhode Island Office

PROVIDENCE, RI (July 5, 2016) – Community Investment Corporation (CIC), a small business lender, has opened a Providence office to expand financial options for Rhode Island small businesses and entrepreneurs. The firm provides business consulting and financing services through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 504, Community Advantage and MicroLoan Programs. CIC’s new office has been established in the Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) at 10 Davol Square.

Mark Cousineau, president of Community Investment Corporation with home office in Hamden, Connecticut, said that “the level of interest from Rhode Island companies has been growing and the time was right for us to have a local office. Buck Harris, a Rhode Island resident and Vice President of Community Lending, will staff our Providence office. We look forward to being a resource to small business owners in the state.”

CIC recently provided SBA 504 loans to Arctic Tool & Engineering, a division of Carlyle Johnson Machine Co. of Greenville for a major equipment purchase and to ParsonsKellogg of East Providence for a building purchase. Fully Rooted of Wickford recently purchased commercial machinery with the help of a MicroLoan.

Named to CIC’s newly formed Rhode Island Advisory Loan Committee are: Leo Blais, Sr. V.P., Pharm-IP Scott Lajoie, V. P., Bank Rhode Island Dan Hagerty, Sr. V.P., Citizens Bank Lauren Slocum, President, Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce Robert Kent, Sr. V.P., Washington Trust Stephen Mackowitz, Sr. V.P. Digital Federal Credit Union.


Community Investment Corporation - Rhode Island
10 Davol Square
Providence, RI 02903

(401) 406-7282 


Saugatuck Kitchens Wins 2016 Small Business of the Year Award 

Congratulations to CIC borrower business, Saugatuck Kitchens on winning the Small Business of the Year Award from the CT Department of Economic and Community Development


Saugatuck Kitchens embarked on a $1,753,000 504 project recently to purchase a new facility for their operations. The purchase was financed by CIC in partnership with Fairfield County Bank. It is Saugatuck Kitchens' second SBA 504 loan with us. 

The company was founded in 1998 by David and Sonia Wells, who met while attending the Culinary Institute of America. David and Sonia settled in New York City for a number of years, and worked at some of the city’s top restaurants. Among those restaurants were Le Bernardin and Gramercy Tavern. After years of honing their culinary skills and learning from top NYC chefs such as Eric Ripert and Tom Colicchio, Dave and Sonia moved to Connecticut and started Saugatuck Kitchens. Saugatuck Kitchens' unique offering includes high-end frozen hors d’oeuvres that can be baked from at an event site. Caterers, hotels, restaurants, and country clubs make up a large part of their loyal customers. Since 1998 their product line has grown from 12 original hors d'oeuvres to more than 70! 

CIC is so pleased to extend our congratulations and well wishes for their continued success!

Find out more about Saugatuck Kitchens at http://saugatuckkitchens.com/




Community Investment Corporation borrower, Thomas Kellogg, of ParsonsKellogg, recently won the prestigious Small Business Person of the Year award from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Rhode Island district office. Winners are chosen based on job creation, number of years in business, sustained growth, innovation, and uniqueness in the marketplace.


Community Investment Corporation recently supported the ParsonsKellogg expansion into a brand new 20,000 sq. ft. facility in East Providence.  The $1,660,000 project was funded with the help of a SBA 504 loan through CIC and with bank partner, Citizens Bank.

Mr. Kellogg, who started his business 14 years ago, was able to persevere through the great recession and has experienced a 27% growth rate since 2012. CIC nominated Thomas Kellogg because of his commitment to staying in Rhode Island and of his spirit and dedication to small business. He currently has 31 full time employees and plans to add 8 more in his new building.

Parsons Kellogg distributes premium promotional products such as sports apparel and accessories. The company has strong relationships with major brands such as Nike, Titleist, FootJoy, and Helly Hansen, to name only a few.




Congratulations to TBNG Consulting on the closing of their SBA 504 loan to purchase and renovate a new building in Milford, CT. The $1,665,600 project was funded jointly by CIC and Bill Rosadini of J.P. Morgan Chase. 

TBNG Consulting designs, implements and supports highly scalable and secure network related technologies for banking, business, education, medical, non-profits, and government. Their solutions utilize best of breed technologies that strengthen local and wide area network performance speed and security.

Previously located in West Haven, the new building on Boston Post Road in Milford will provide more space for the growing technology company. Visit TBNG online at: http://www.tbngconsulting.com/





Congratulations to the Carlyle Johnson Machine Co. on their recently closed SBA 504 loan used to purchase a new, 16,000-sq. ft. facility in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

This was a $1.3 million growth project that was funded jointly by Community Investment Corporation and our partner, Webster Bank. We are especially pleased to support such important manufacturing growth in the United States.

If you haven’t heard of Carlyle Johnson, they are a leading industrial clutch and brake manufacturer, and they have been in business for more than 100 years! Their products are used in everything from ‪‎aerospace‬ and military applications, to agricultural equipment.

Today, they lead their industry with new technology, engineering, and product development initiatives. Find more information at: http://cjmco.com




Aya Beckles Swanson HONORED WITH the Connie Maffeo Customer Service Award


From L-R: CIC Board Member, Mary Murphy; CIC President, Mark Cousineau; CIC Vice President, Aya Beckles Swanson, with supporter Lynn Skoczylas

Community Investment Corporation Vice President, Aya Beckles Swanson, was awarded the Connie Maffeo Customer Service award by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) at their annual CELEBRATE CT! event in downtown Hartford on December 2, 2015. The event featured honorees who were selected by each region for their contribution to the state’s economy – such as consistent or growing employment levels, role in changing the character of its community, strong collaboration to encourage new investment, leadership, and service. 

CIC is very proud of Aya's committment to providing outstanding service to her clients. It is a skill that comes naturally her, and provides CIC borrowers with the confidence and support they need to achieve success.  Read more about Aya.


CIC Vice President, Buck Harris, JOINS TED NESI ON WPRI's Executive Suite 



CIC's Vice President of Community Lending, Buck Harris, appeared this week on Executive Suite with Ted Nesi. Executive Suite is a business news program on WPRI's Fox Providence station. 



Congratulations to five CIC borrowers/business owners as recipients of the 2015 Connecticut SBA Small Business Awards!

The U.S. Small Business Administration's Connecticut District Office, the Small Business Development Center, and Connecticut Small Business/Key to the Future announced their 10 awardees for 2015 Small Business Week. Of the 10 awardees, FIVE are CIC borrowers:

• Home-Based Business - Great Strides, LLC 
• Young Entrepreneur of the Year - Bikram Yoga 
• Family Owned Business of the Year - Fascia's Chocolates 
• Entrepreneurial Success - The SEED Center 
• Minority Small Business - Howard K. Hill Funeral Services

These, and the rest of the winners, were recognized at the SBA Small Business Week celebration on May 6th, at Infinity Music Hall & Theatre, Hartford, CT. We hope you will join us in congratulating these dedicated entrepreneurs!


Photo from L-R: Julio Casiano, SBA Deputy District Director; Natasha Roggi, Owner of Bikram Yoga Downtown Hartford; Aya Beckles Swanson, Vice President, Community Investment Corporation; Bernard Sweeney, SBA District Director.



CIC Expands MicroLoan Program to Rhode Island

Lenders offering small loans seem to be popping up everywhere, but there are great advantages to partnering with CIC when it comes time for a small business loan.  CIC provides business owners with complimentary financial guidance and business consulting support throughout the life of the loan. This professional support is a powerful tool in helping to ensure the business' long-term success and it’s a service that quick loan companies cannot match.


For Not-Quite-Bankable Businesses

Also, not all businesses are able to quality for traditional bank loans or loans through on-line funding sources. That's where Community Investment Corporation can be very helpful. CIC’s leadership and loan expertise enables borrowers to access capital to start a small business or to expand their current one. An SBA MicroLoan is a good option (and many times the only option) for entrepreneurs who are not quite ready for a conventional bank loan and want a relationship with their lender that can support their growth now and into the future.


A MicroLoan in Westerly Gets the Ball Rolling in Rhode Island

Sandra Smith-Andaloro, of Treat Your Feet at Sandie's Boutique in Westerly, is the first business owner to take advantage of the CIC MicroLoan program in Rhode Island. Treat Your Feet is an upscale family shoe store offering high quality, comfortable, and well-fitting shoes. Sandra purchased the existing business from a previous owner and invested in new inventory with a $40,000 MicroLoan.

CIC was pleased to work with Holly DePerry of Westerly Community Credit Union in a partnership that helped Sandra successfully launch her new business.




A MicroLoan can be used for many start-up and expansion expenses including:

  • Inventory
  • Working capital
  • Insurance premiums
  • Marketing programs
  • Equipment purchases

For more information about CIC's MicroLoan program, contact Buck Harris: [email protected] or (203) 776-6172 x128.



SBA Loans for Small Businesses that are Not Ready for Traditional Bank Financing

Not all businesses are able to quality for traditional bank loans. That's where Community Investment Corporation can be very helpful. CIC’s leadership and loan expertise enables borrowers to access capital to start a small business or to expand their current one. An SBA MicroLoan is a good option (and many times the only option) for entrepreneurs who are not quite ready for a conventional bank loan.

Click to view/download the CIC Community Lending Term Sheet iconPdf.png

In addition to funding, CIC provides business owners with complimentary financial guidance and business consulting support throughout the life of the loan. This professional support is a powerful tool in helping to ensure the business' long-term success.

Banks that refer loan applicants to CIC:

  • Preserve their depository accounts
  • Encourage small business growth in their community
  • Incubate potential borrowers for the future


Borrowers who receive loans from CIC get:

  • Business planning guidance to mitigate risk
  • Dedicated assistance during the loan application process
  • Free consulting support throughout the life of the loan 





Presented by the CT Small Business Development Center and Community Investment Corporation

GrowthWheel® is a new and effective business planning tool for entrepreneurs. It is a visually designed program that helps business owners determine exactly where they need to focus their efforts as they begin a new business, or take steps to grow an existing one. GrowthWheel is an alternative to the traditional business plan in that is uses a strategy and visual guideline that is aligned more with the way entrepreneurs typically think and work. GrowthWheel tools are also less daunting than traditional business plans.

CIC is hosting a free workshop in Hamden, Connecticut on October 15th at 5:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served. The event is open to the public, however, priority registration is reserved for CIC clients. Please contact Aya Beckles Swanson for more information or to reserve your spot: [email protected], or (203) 776-6172 ext. 133.


"I have advised entrepreneurs for many years, and often the advisory sessions were geared towards the business plan. When bringing it up, the entrepreneurs would get this tired expression on their face. Entrepreneurs are such creative people, and they love what they are doing – but I find that sometimes all the paper work that comes with the business plan kills their spirit a little bit. So when I first heard about GrowthWheel, it immediately resonated with me. GrowthWheel makes it easy to extract what is important for the entrepreneur right now – and it doesn't eliminate the need for planning. Instead, it gives you an easy system, an organized way to plan. Basically, it's a planning tool that works." -Ted Baker, GrowthWheel Counselor





Community Advantage Loans

Community Advantage is an exciting new SBA lending program designed to meet the financing needs of existing small businesses in underserved communities as well as start-up businesses located anywhere in CT or RI.  

Our Community Advantage borrowers are not quite ready for traditional financing for a variety of reasons, but have the character and experience needed to be successful.  


  • Provides loans up to $250,000 with government-backed guarantees
  • Increases CIC’s opportunity to lend to small businesses in underserved markets
  • Creates opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses
  • Enables CIC to provide financing for small businesses that are “not quite bankable”
  • Can be combined with other CIC lending programs


MicroNOW Loans

The MicroNOW loan program, CIC's latest initiative under the SBA Microloan program, offers small business owners an efficient means to access funds up to $7500 in as little as two weeks. The program offers:

  • Loans up to $7,500 for businesses open at least one year
  • A streamlined, two-week approval and closing process
  • Funding for any business purpose
  • Relationship-building with small business owners
  • Opportunties for their long-term success and future bankability

CIC is an economic development lender contributing financial expertise and practical guidance to small business entrepreneurs in Connecticut and Rhode Island who have powerful ideas and need more power to grow them.