Trent & Steven Kinney
These grants helped us get through the difficult times. I was definitely grateful as a veteran that we were able to get them.
Mielke Confections, a fixture in Western Mass. since 1961 with stores in Great Barrington and Stockbridge, makes hand-dipped chocolates and confections. Trent and Steven Kinney bought the confection-making operation in 2019 from its original owners, a family that had operated the business since opening the doors.
Trent and Steve both served in the United States Army, with both leaving the service with the rank of captain. Mielke Confections received a total of $45,000 in two grants from MGCC to help it continue operations after struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing shutdown.
Mielke, which employs about 12-15 people depending on the season, fortunately did not have to shut down completely. But, it had limited operations, with just takeout and pick-up service for several months. The Kinneys primarily used the grant funds to keep their staff employed.
“Without the grants, I don’t know If we would have still been open,” said Trent Kinney. “So, they were definitely a lifeline to keep going, at least to keep the light on the horizon going.”
As a veteran, Kinney said, he was grateful for the support system.
“I think the whole COVID was about coming together as a community, getting through the pandemic together,” he said. “And the same thing in the business community. These grants helped us get through the difficult times. I was definitely grateful as a veteran that we were able to get them.
“I definitely recommend people to explore the options. Especially in hard times, it provides a cushion or some relief for the business.”
In honor of Veterans Day, MGCC is proud to recognize the veteran-owned businesses with which it has worked with and the veterans who have given so much for our country. From 2020 through Nov. 1, MGCC disbursed 577 grants, totaling $27,756,101, to veteran-owned businesses in Massachusetts.