By Laura Beth Saaman, V/T Commercial student intern
Lon Finkelstein, CFO of the Vermont Tent Company, began working for the business while he was attending the University of Vermont. He spent his summers working with the other five employees at the time to provide tents, food, and other services to clients.
After graduating, Lon stepped into an office manager role where he was responsible for responding to customer calls, instructing crews where to go, and learning the business side of things. The partners he now works with, Mike Solomon and Mike Lubus, joined the Vermont Tent team in the early 90s and have been working together ever since. Lon recalled his experience as the company grew to what it is today:
“I think the first year we did $40,000 in total sales and I remember when we got to a quarter of a million dollars we were like “oh my god we can’t get any bigger”. Now we look back on it and kind of chuckle. It’s been a fun ride starting at the ground level and growing personally and professionally.”
As Vermont Tent Company continued to grow, V/T Commercial helped the company move several times, from its first location in Downtown Burlington in 1995 to the current space in South Burlington. Although their space has served them well, it is time again to move to a space with more room for growth. Lon once again worked with V/T Commercial to find the perfect location for the business. Here’s how he described working with V/T Commercial team member Tony Blake:
“It was great for me, never really going through this experience, having Tony to lean on. He knew from knowing Vermont Tent over the years what we were looking for and what would work. With his guidance, he let us make the decision, but helped us think about what long term would be best case scenario for us. He was a good resource.”
The new facility in Essex Junction is 60,000 square feet that almost doubles the size of their current location. It allows the Vermont Tent Company team to bring certain processes in house that they once had to outsource. Lon believes having everyone in one space will not only make their team more efficient, but it will improve the dynamic and overall work environment.
“It is good for our employees which is an important component of this. They are going to have a state-of-the-art break room, locker facilities, things of that nature. We value our employees just as much as our clients. It is important that we are going to be able to recognize them as well.”
When asked why he would recommend V/T Commercial, Lon said it is important to lean on the experts. He described the V/T team as well versed in the potential pitfalls that come with finding a new facility. Lon also admired their knowledge on how to negotiate a lease and what is happening in the current marketplace. Lon also complimented Tony Blake and the V/T Commercial team for their transparency:
“With them, what you see is what you get. I’m sure the way Tony treats V/T Commercial partners/employees is exactly how he treats not only the clients that he’s serving but also all the landlords out there. It’s relationship based business and he has a very good reputation, and there’s a reason why. He treats people properly, doesn’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, and is open and upfront about a lot of things.”
For close to 25 years, the team at V/T Commercial has been delighted to assist Lon and the Vermont Tent Company team in satisfying its continued growth requirements. It is truly a collective effort and it is extremely rewarding when there is the opportunity to help clients grow and succeed. V/T Commercial feels a part of and has a vested interest in that success and takes pride in making any transaction a winning one for all parties.