The Trailside Café
When nobody else out there would lend me the money, The Progress Fund stepped up. Basically, they got it. …now I’m where I wanted to be. Our business plan is completed.
Rod Darby was three-quarters of the way down the trail to a thriving business, but had a fiscal flat tire. He had purchased a building along the Great Allegheny Passage and turned it into The Trailside, with a cyclist-friendly convenience store, bike repair shop, and restaurant with a deck. The problem: “When the sun went down, when the weather got cool, we really struggled,” says Rod. He had always planned to get a liquor license, but couldn’t get bank financing to buy one. “The economy went sour,” he says. “There was just no money.”
The Progress Fund had financed every stage of development of The Trailside, and had arranged a $145,000 loan from the Pennsylvania First Industries Tourism Program. Now The Progress Fund loaned another $40,000 for the license and bar equipment, increasing its total loans to The Trailside to $394,000.
The Progress Fund also connected Rod with an experienced restaurateur, who advised him through the St. Francis University Small Business Development Center. “The secret of our success has been, when the trail traffic goes away, how do we survive?” says Rod. With the shift to a family-friendly pub, featuring craft brews and American grilled food, wintertime business quadrupled, smoothing the cash flow. “It’s really saved the company.”View Story as PDF
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