Jean Bonnet Tavern
We were turned down flat for a conventional business loan. Very few commercial banks want to lend money for tourism-related hospitality businesses. It (The Progress Fund) was the only lender that was willing to meet our needs.
Shannon Jacobs had a dozen years’ experience in the restaurant business and his wife Melissa worked as a business developer for the large catering facility at the casino at Lakemont Park in Altoona, PA, but lenders weren’t confident that they could make the historic Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford prosper when they tried to buy it in 1999, until The Progress Fund stepped in.
The Progress Fund has loaned $150,000 in conjunction with a $150,000 loan from Pennsylvania’s First Industries Tourism Program to the Jacobs this year. The funds were used to bring a Revolutionary War-era log cabin to the property as a tavern giftshop, to buy the property next door to hold for future use, and to renovate the tavern itself. All in all, says Melissa Jacobs, the money will make the facility “more efficient for our employees and more comfortable for our patrons.”
Although the Jean Bonnet Tavern through the years has often been an inn, and sometimes even a private home, it is seemingly thriving as never before under the Jacobs’ smart and sensitive hands. Hewing to the place’s historical integrity and beauty, they are improving its rooms, menu and bar selections while tripling the Tavern’s overall business success since 1999. It is a modern success story of historic proportions, thanks to the constant assistance of The Progress Fund.View Story as PDF