A Winamac restaurant is eyeing a larger space, and it’s asking Pulaski County to help finance the move. Tippy’s is planning to move about a block west to 123 North Market Street. The business plans to buy the space that formerly housed a dime store and more recently H & R Block.
To help with the process, Tippy’s is asking for a $40,000 loan from the county’s revolving loan fund. Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer presented the request to the county commissioners Monday. “This loan proceeds would be for a little bit of extra seating equipment because she’ll have a larger dining room, and then making that space restaurant-friendly,” he explained. It would be a 10-year loan with an interest rate of 3.75 percent.
But County Attorney Kevin Tankersley recommended that the commissioners hold off on finalizing the loan, until he has a few more details in writing. “She’s buying the building on contract. I just have never seen the contract because it isn’t done yet,” he said. “I don’t know what equity she’s going to have in the building – probably not much, if you’re buying it on contract. That’s the whole point. So we’re going to be taking collateral in personal property, which, as you know, is worth about a third of what you paid for it a week after you have it.”
Commissioner Mike McClure also had a few concerns. “Well, I kind of think it would help vitalize the downtown, but boy the restaurant business is such an up-and-down business. You know, banks don’t like restaurants,” he said.
“That’s why this program exists,” Origer replied, “to help businesses to get where banks do like them.
“But we do need more food places in town,” Commissioner Kenny Becker pointed out. “I will give them credit for that, and they’ve got a good thing going.”
Still, McClure said he’d like to see the proposal move forward. “I wouldn’t be opposed of it at all, as long as Kevin feels real comfortable with the collateral, as long as she’s got a little personal interest in it besides her time. And I think it’d help the downtown, and I think she’ll do good. She’s a hustler. You can tell that from her Tippy’s. But I’d just like to kind of make sure that all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed, and we’re not hanging out there.”
In the end, the commissioners voted to move ahead with the loan, as long as Tankersley gives his approval.