- Luke Awtry
- Chris Swasey and Natalie Beckwith, co-owners, Lewis Creek Builders
Designing and building a house is a long-term commitment for Lewis Creek Builders. The Essex-based design-build crew may see a project through from a napkin sketch and 3D renderings to construction and final completion.
The relationship doesn't end once the permits are closed, either, says co-owner Chris Swasey. Lewis Creek's 25-person team stays in touch, helping clients make changes or address issues that come up years down the road. Swasey, who started at the company as a carpenter in 2015, loves visiting a home he built and seeing how a family lives in it. "That's one of my favorite things, honestly," he says.
Lewis Creek works with roughly 30 to 40 clients a year whose homes will be their biggest asset. They are looking for a knowledgeable, responsive building partner they can trust.
Swasey and his co-owner — his wife, Natalie Beckwith — want the same thing from their financial services provider. The couple grew up in Burlington and bought the company in 2017; they run it together as equals.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, Lewis Creek was forced to shut down. The federal Paycheck Protection Program offered relief, but like many small business owners across the country, Swasey and Beckwith urgently needed help navigating the process.
They didn't get it from their bank, a multinational company with branches in Vermont. "They didn't know what was available," Swasey recalls, "and they didn't care."
The experience prompted the couple to find a new financial home: Mascoma Bank.
Mascoma appealed because it's a Certified B Corporation, which means it considers the environmental impact of its business practices. Lewis Creek does that, too, always building with energy-efficiency standards in mind and helping clients evaluate the carbon cost of various building materials.
Mascoma's customer service was a selling point, too, and Swasey says the bank delivered. Mascoma helped Lewis Creek through its second PPP loan application and forgiveness process.
He and his leadership team, all of whom grew up using the internet, also appreciate Mascoma's online and mobile banking tools. "They're on top of things in a way you don't always expect from financial institutions," Swasey observes.
He also appreciates that Mascoma considers its customers' needs. For example, he noticed a Mamava pod for nursing mothers at the Burlington branch on Pine Street. It caught his eye because he and Beckwith have a 10-month-old at home.
"I really feel like, top to bottom, Mascoma cares about making things better for us and for our community."