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Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

Couple requests loan to purchase ice cream shop

By William Kincaid
CELINA - A St. Henry couple is looking to purchase a second area ice cream shop using county revolving loan fund dollars.
County commissioners on Tuesday morning set a public hearing for 11 a.m. Oct. 18 in their office on the second floor of the Mercer County Central Services Building to give citizens an opportunity to review and comment on a proposal to loan $50,000 to JBA Enterprise LLC to help purchase Dairy Drive In at 501 State Route 49.
JBA Enterprise, owned by Jeff and Bev Abels, according to county documents, wants to purchase the business.
The total project, estimated at $225,000, would be financed through a $50,000 county revolving loan, $12,000 in equity and $163,000 from a private lender.
The $50,000 revolving loan would "purchase the equipment portion of the acquisition of the facility," a county document reads. Jeff Abels told the newspaper he plans to change the name of the business to The Fort Recovery Dairy.
The move would create three full-time equivalent jobs. Two would be made available to low-to-moderate income persons.
The county's loan would help keep an established ice cream business in Fort Recovery, county community development director Jared Ebbing told the newspaper.
County commissioners in 2016 approved a $100,000 revolving loan at 3 percent interest to JBA to help it purchase The Dairy Dream's business and equipment in St. Henry.
The county funds specifically were to be used toward the purchase of equipment within the building. Under the terms of the agreement, St. Henry Dairy Dream was required to retain 10 full-time equivalent jobs, six of which were to be made available to low- to moderate-income people.
The revolving loan program started almost three decades ago and is funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that are funneled through the state. The local economic development office reviews, approves and distributes the funding.
The state requires a public hearing for each application.
The low-interest county revolving loans can be used to buy fixed assets such as land, buildings, machinery and equipment and as working capital to expand an existing or start-up business.
Unless used for local infrastructure needs or removal of blight and slums, the loans are repaid to the fund with interest to provide funding for future loans.
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