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Friday, June 8th, 2018

County OKs loans to aid expansions

Brewery, pet business gain funding

By William Kincaid
CELINA - Revolving loan funds totaling $200,000 were issued to two established businesses looking to expand their operations.
Mercer County commissioners Greg Homan, Rick Muhlenkamp and Jerry Laffin on Thursday morning passed resolutions to issue revolving loan funds in the amounts of $175,000 to Moeller Brew Barn/Wright Moeller Investments LLC of Maria Stein and $25,000 to K-9 Clubhouse LLC of Coldwater.
The seven-year revolving loans each carry a 3 percent interest rate. Commissioners will hold a first-position lien on the equipment and a third-position lien on the land/building for Moller Brew Barn's expansion and a first-position lien on the equipment and second-position lien on the land/building for K-9 Clubhouse's addition, according to the resolutions.
"Both have been successful businesses and both (are) looking to continue to grow," Mercer County Community Development Director Jared Ebbing said during the federally mandated public hearing before commissioners took action.
No one from the public attended the meeting.
Ebbing told commissioners that environmental reviews had been completed for both projects and the state had approved both applications and signed off on the release of funds last month. Also, the county's revolving loan fund board had recommended issuing the loans at a review meeting.
Moeller Brew Barn owner Nick Moeller had said the expansion will allow the brewery at 8016 Marion Drive, Maria Stein, to greatly boost production from about 1,500 barrels of craft beer per year to 5,000 barrels annually over three years, more than tripling its capacity.
Moeller also said he aims to install a wood-fired oven and other equipment to provide customers with a small menu of food, including pizza.
Moeller intends to combine the $175,000 county revolving loan with a $150,000 Midwest Electric revolving loan, $100,000 in equity and $1.275 million from a private lender to finance the $1.7 million project. The county's share will go toward building improvements/expansion and the purchase of equipment.
The move would create 10 full-time jobs, six of which will be offered or made available to low- to moderate-income people, according to the county's notice.
K-9 Clubhouse LLC, located at 410 Fortener Drive, Coldwater, and owned by April Braun and Sandy Sutter, plans to add a 3,000-square-feet standalone building at the site for luxury boarding of pets, including larger rooms, extended hours and extra service, Braun told the newspaper.
To finance the $291,290 project, K-9 Clubhouse intends to combine the $25,000 county revolving loan with $30,290 in equity and $236,000 from a private lender, according to Ebbing.
The move would add one full-time job, which will be offered or made available to a low- to moderate-income person.
Moeller Brew Barn began operations in May 2015 with a 15-barrel brewhouse and 90 barrels of fermentable space to produce up to 1,200 barrels annually by 2017, as well as a taproom with seating for 75. Today, its line of craft beers - which touts styles such as Frogtown IPA, Rooster Bock and Wally Post Red, among many others - can be found at hundreds of locations in Ohio, including in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland.
Construction is underway, and the expansion will allow the business to brew up to 10 times a week "with an additional 135 barrels of fermentable space and footprint space for an additional 120 barrels of fermentable space in future years."
Moreover, the project will allow officials to set the canning line in a permanent position, streamline warehouse operations and increase indoor seating from 75 to 215 and outdoor patio space from 720 square feet to 3,100 square feet.
Moeller said work should be wrapped up before Thanksgiving.
The mother-daughter duo of Sutter and Braun was approved in 2012 for a $40,000 county revolving loan to establish K-9 Clubhouse in Coldwater's industrial park, offering grooming; day care; boarding; and a selection of dog toys, foods and bones and carrying beds and medicines.
The low-interest county revolving loans can be used to buy fixed assets such as land, buildings, machinery and equipment and as working capital to expand an existing or start-up business. Unless used for local infrastructure needs or removal of blight and slums, the loans are repaid to the fund with interest to provide funding for future loans.
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