Fort Chamber loan helps launch three new downtown businesses | Fort Atkinson
2020 has not been a good year for new business launches, but a loan available from the Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce has made it a possibility for three new businesses downtown.
The Room Revitalization Loan Program was established in 2008 to encourage small businesses to consider investing in downtown buildings, but has since expanded to include properties located across the city.
The program is offered in partnership with Badger Bank, Fort Community Credit Union and PremierBank, each of which has pledged to support a global fund of $ 250,000. Applications are open to any business located in Fort Atkinson.
In the past year, three new businesses have applied for and received a loan under the Revitalization Loan Program. Erin and Mitchell Patterson, owners of 10-62 Saloon, used their loan to completely renovate their building at 12 S. Water St. East.
“We were so grateful to use the Revitalization Loan to uncover and restore the charm of our new neighborhood bar,” said Erin Patterson. “With these funds, we could tackle the much-needed renovation that this location needed without having to immediately deplete our construction loan.
“While some repairs, like new windows and restoration of the decaying storefront, were a necessity, the additional funds allowed us to focus on making them aesthetically pleasing to the eye,” she added. “Quality repairs are expensive, but they add to the beauty of our small town and are worth every penny. We look forward to revealing our renovation to members of our community.
Tavern on Rock, formerly Belmont Casino at 29 Sherman Ave. West, opened last June with new owners Bekim Lumani and Benny Useni. New parking and interior renovations were completed last spring in preparation for the opening of the restaurant.
“The Fort Atkinson bedroom revitalization loan program allowed us to completely renovate the old Belmont exterior, adding new siding, a new patio and a paved parking lot, which was previously gravel,” he said. declared Bekim Lumani. “The chamber and the city have been very supportive and business is going well.”
One project currently underway is the Big Bluestem Market Collective, located at 225 S. Main St., now owned by Rob and Alicia Norris. Set to open this summer, the business will include a restaurant, bar and market offering produce and products from local micro-businesses. The space is currently undergoing extensive interior and exterior renovations with an emphasis on recycling salvaged materials to prevent anything going to waste.
“The House Revitalization Loan Program has given us the opportunity to support our dream of transforming a historic Fort Atkinson High Street location into a space that fosters community, creativity and bonding,” shared the owners Rob and Alicia. “We are thrilled with this project and to be part of the Fort Atkinson community with our new venture, the Big Bluestem Market Collective.
Business owners can apply for up to $ 50,000 interest-free for 24 months to improve exterior improvements to commercial or commercial properties. All work must comply with city codes and ordinances, and borrowers must meet acceptable credit standards and provide collateral if necessary.
In addition, the owner must maintain the majority of his banking relationship with at least one of the participating lenders. Loans granted to a borrower for the same immovable cannot be less than $ 5,000 and the maximum term of the loan cannot exceed 10 years.
Projects are selected through a competitive application process with special attention to the preservation, restoration or maintenance of the property; its location and historical value, the scope of the project and whether the design of the project blends well with the surrounding structures. The comprehensive master plan for the town of Fort Atkinson is also reviewed by the selection committee prior to its final approval.
“The Fort Atkinson Regional Chamber of Commerce and our financial partners recognize the barriers to starting a new business and are proud to support entrepreneurial activity in our city,” said Chamber Director Carrie Chisholm. “Plus, it’s great to see our buildings being used to their highest potential.”
Potential applicants can contact the Fort Atkinson area chamber of commerce for an application, which is then submitted for review to the chamber’s economic development committee.
Applications can also be found online at www.fortchamber.com/revitalization-loan. After approval, the applicant can then complete the necessary documents through one of the participating lending institutions.
The Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce is open Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, at 244 N. Main St. A complete directory of chamber members is available at www.fortchamber.com.