Silver Shores Restaurant
“The Progress Fund has a more open process. They don’t make you fit in a box. They were able to look at the overall picture rather than some of the specifics that other lenders might focus on.”
When ice age glaciers receded, they left Pennsylvania a three-mile-long jewel called Conneaut Lake. “The relaxed atmosphere here just really puts people at ease,” says Rob Schepner. His family spent summers there, on the beach or their boat – but didn’t often visit Silver Shores Restaurant, the only lakeside public establishment. When Rob, an appraiser, heard that the restaurant was up for sale, he wondered why it seemed adrift. “It just needed a breath of fresh air,” he concluded – and his family could provide that tailwind.
With help from the University of Pittsburgh’s Small Business Development Center, Rob fished for a bank loan, but didn’t get any bites. Dan Poirier of First Commonwealth Bank, though, recommended The Progress Fund. “They were able to look at the overall picture rather than some of the specifics that other lenders might focus on,” Rob says. The Progress Fund loaned $570,000 and the Schepners bought Silver Shores.
Rob and his wife Karen, along with their five children ages 11 to 24, joined forces to increase the summer schedule to seven days a week, bolster the menu with more fresh fish and steak, and add more lakeside grilling and entertainment. Now vacationers line up for Silver Shores’ 200-plus seats – including patio and tiki bar – and 12 boat docks. “You can come in your boat or your bathing suit and sit outside in your flip-flops,” says Rob. “Everybody’s smiling.”
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.
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