They’re not in it for money. They’re in it to promote tourism in southwestern Pennsylvania. The loan officer I worked with is just so personable. He brought it all down to earth. He was a very calming influence through every kind of storm.
Terri Krysak always says the Ohiopyle area is “one of the most beautiful in the world,” and it bothers her that others see Fayette County as “depressed.” “I just have had a vision, forever, that it doesn’t need to be this way.” When she finished home schooling her five sons, Terri set out to transform a family-owned house, using her experience with cooking, hospitality and management, into Bittersweet Café.
Terri sought advice from the St. Vincent College Small Business Development Center. When they talked about financing, she mentioned The Progress Fund. Her counselor “looked at me and said, ‘I think you’re right.’” The Progress Fund loaned $208,810 to purchase a building and equipment for the start-up café which features upscale gourmet food and drinks made from scratch with locally grown ingredients.
Terri and her sons turned the interior into a cozy space with a fireplace and antiques, while the wrap-around porch and grounds are “a little bit industrial,” with a state-of-the-art sound system. Raised beds in back produce some of the cafe’s vegetables, herbs and berries, and many other ingredients are grown nearby. A typical day might have her making homemade sausage, pie, granola, bread and cookies. Smell the aroma? That depressed feeling is gone, right? “Your attitude can change your environment,” Terri says. “Your attitude about this area can change this area.”
This project was financed in part using Pennsylvania Small Business Credit Initiative (PSBCI) funds from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development.
The Progress Fund is an equal opportunity provider and employer.View Story as PDF