Morse Block Deli Celebrates a New Milestone

Contact: Yvonne Lory, Capstone Community Action
Phone: (802) 477-5123

Morse Block Deli Celebrates a New Milestone

(Barre, VT) Morse Block Deli in Barre celebrates its second anniversary under the ownership of Stefano Coppola. As a trained and experienced Chef, Coppola brings to the now four-year-old establishment new ideas and a new look guided by his personal values and mission to provide local, fresh and wholesome food. He takes great pride in this as each local partner is prominently displayed on the wall next to the sandwich menu. Not only do you find hearty, mouthwatering sandwiches, but all of the items can be enjoyed with craft beers, cider and wine. The deli display contains local food products like cheeses, organic eggs, Vermont Salumi sausage, and more.

Coppola is also experimenting with different ideas and services beyond the sandwich board. In addition to traditional catered events, he’s introduced Black Apron Kits, a catered and customizable meal without the high price tag; beer inspired and infused creations; and ethnic food nights featuring dishes not typically found in VT.

The public has responded and business is good for Coppola. However, the two-year path to get this venture going was not always easy for this first time business owner. That’s where Capstone Community Action’s business counselor, Margaret Ferguson stepped in to support Coppola to plan the start and ongoing operations of the business.

“As with many new business owners, we needed to start with the basics of developing a business plan, learning to create projections, and complete a plan to present to Community Capital for financing. Stefano was in a slightly different place professionally since he already had experience in the food industry and was a trained Chef. His goal was to purchase an established deli. Along the way, he attended workshops for microbusiness owners to learn the ropes. He networked and put in the time to make it happen.” stated Margaret Ferguson.

“Margaret’s experiences, resources and information were invaluable to me and my business.” said Coppola. “From the start I knew I wanted to stay in Vermont and find something invigorating, and this was what I could pursue with the right support. She helped provide hope for my vision to be part of the food revolution to support local farmers and artisans businesses while sticking to my mission of serving local, wholesome food without the fine dining to the masses.”

Today, Coppola’s Morse Block Deli employs two additional individuals; participates in the Farmers to You program as a CSA pick up location, and hopes to contribute to the Granite City Grocery effort in Barre. Relying heavily on word of mouth as one of the best places to purchase a sandwich in Barre, the constant innovation of this eatery elevates local food while supporting community partners to remain true to Coppola’s values and mission of serving local, fresh and wholesome food.

Capstone Community Action works with over 200 individuals, providing one-on-one business counseling and training. This includes helping individuals develop a business plan, learn how to track income and expenses, understand recordkeeping, as well as pricing and profit, create marking plans and access financing. Participation in the Micro Business Development Program is free thanks in part to support from Wells Fargo and USDA Rural Development. Over the past five years, the program has helped launch over 100 businesses, creating 150 jobs and accessing $2M in local financing.

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