Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
By Shelley Grieshop
Loan finalized for new grocery store
  Mercer County officials finalized a revolving loan plan that will help a Celina man re-open a grocery store on Logan Street in Celina.
Tom Giesige, who plans to open the store in coming weeks as Friendly Markets of Celina, on Tuesday was granted a $115,000 low-interest loan through the county's revolving loan program, which is administered locally through the community economic development office.
The closing of the loan took place at the county commissioner's office where commissioners unanimously gave the action their blessing.
A previous hearing was held Aug. 20 to discuss the loan and seek public comment. There were no objections or concerns aired.
Friendly Markets will be a full-time grocery store at the site of the former Logan Street IGA. Giesige will use the revolving loan funds to purchase existing equipment such as cases, coolers, cash registers, a compactor, saw and slicer and other equipment such as computers, shopping carts and ovens. To fulfill the five-year loan obligation, he must create 10 full-time jobs during the next three years.
The cost of the overall project, according to Giesige, is $395,000. Terms of the loan contract state he has secured a $170,000 private lender loan and has equity of $110,000.
The former IGA store, along with Ole Fort IGA in Fort Recovery, previously were owned by John and Christina Sutter. The couple's Celina store closed in 2007 due to financial problems. The Fort Recovery store later fell to foreclosure and was purchased by Chad and Anne Guggenbiller, who opened it as Wayne IGA.
Sutter and his wife were indicted on felony charges in March for passing four bad checks totaling nearly $15,000. After paying restitution and other costs, their cases were dismissed in June in Mercer County Common Pleas Court.
The county's revolving loan program is provided through the Ohio Department of Development and has helped expand and start new local businesses, as well as create jobs, for more than 20 years. Currently, there are approximately $10 million in loan funds available for eligible businesses.
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