East Liverpool CIC Looks to Recoup $40,000 Loan

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio — The Community Improvement Corp. of East Liverpool voted at its recent meeting to take legal steps against a Boardman business-owner to recoup a $40,000 loan granted him last September.

Shaun DaVill is owner of DaVill Enterprises, which operates N2 by DaVill in Boardman and The Loft @ N2 by DaVill in Salem. N2 by DaVill is a nitrogen ice cream and bake shop.

DaVill approached the CIC last September with plans to open an ice cream shop and coffee shop in the former Curtis Cigar and TV Facts storefronts in the Little Building located on Devon’s Diamond on Sixth Street. He sought a $40,000 loan for equipment and start-up costs.

Reporting last week to the CIC’s finance committee prior to the full board meeting, Executive Director Bill Cowan said DaVill was supposed to make an initial payment in October but failed to do so and has not made any subsequent payments.

According to Cowan, he has received several emails from DaVill with promises to pay up but that also has not occurred, and Law Director Charles Payne sent a collection letter, to no avail.

“We want our money,” Cowan told the committee.

CIC President Pat Scafide said it was understood there had been “some issues” at the Little Building, but said, “If he’s having an issue, call us. It’s $40,000 we could be loaning to someone else.”

Cowan pointed out this process is not unusual. Collection letters sent in the past to borrowers usually resulted in a phone call from the borrower and formulation of a payment plant. However, he’s had no such response from DaVill, he said.

The loan is secured by equipment DaVill has in storage, according to Cowan.

With members Tom Beagle, Robert Nizer, Herman Potts, Dan Dietz, Connie Javens and Fred Emmerling absent, remaining board members voted unanimously in favor of the committee’s recommendation to sue DaVill.

When initially seeking the loan, DaVill told the CIC he had never before sought loan funding.

“I have money; I just want to be safe,” Davill said at the time.

Mayor Greg Bricker encouraged the loan at the time, saying the two shops are “exactly what we need downtown” calling them a “huge addition” to the downtown area.

The committee agreed to recommend loaning DaVill the money at 3% interest over five years. The new equipment he planned to buy, as well as other equipment he owns, would be used as collateral. DaVill indicated plans to open the shops by Halloween last year, but that did not occur, and when contacted by the Business Journal in November, DaVill said he expected to open in February, which also did not occur.

Reached Monday, DaVill said he was unaware of the proposed legal action, saying he has had some personal issues, including a death in the family, and had been traveling.

“I hadn’t realized it had gotten to that point,” he said.

Adding he had “just been waiting for the building to be ready,” DaVill said he has “every intention of going forward” with locating his businesses in the two storefronts.

“It should still be happening. It should still be opening,” he said, adding that he would be calling Cowan immediately that his plan is to move forward.

In November, DaVill said an electrical issue at the Little Building would delay opening his two shops until February.

The building’s owner, Amy Faulk, said Monday she was unaware of the pending legal action against DaVill, and as far as she knew, he still planned to open businesses in her building.

“I’ve never been led to believe he was not going ahead with it,” Faulk said.

A water line break this winter led to water pouring through the building, resulting in large icicles on the exterior.

Faulk said she is still pressing forward in preparing the building for occupancy, noting she just purchased the structure last May and wanted to get the bottom floor completed first.

Currently, she is awaiting delivery of HVAC systems which are on national back order, Faulk said. In addition, renovations that had been completed are now being redone due to a water line break this winter which “destroyed everything,” delaying her plans to be occupied in March, she said.

Calling it a “fabulous building,” Faulk said she expects work to move forward in the coming weeks and she has tenants lined up for all the lower floors. If DaVill decides not to open his shops in the building, Faulk said she has a waiting list of people interested in those storefronts.

Regarding other downtown commercial structures, the CIC board also approved last week a recommendation by the finance committee to start two checking accounts with American Rescue Plan funding for building improvements.

The first would initially be established with $100,000 in city funds earmarked for improvements to the landmark Thompson Building in Devon’s Diamond which the CIC owns and plans to develop. The building has been vacant for some time.

The second checking account will be established with $80,000 in city funds to be used for a facade improvement program, the parameters of which are still being finalized. Mayor Bricker said he hopes to raise an additional $20,000 to bring this account to $100,000.

Cowan said the program will enable owners of commercial buildings to secure up to a certain amount of funding to use along with their own contribution for facade improvements.

It was explained the city wants the CIC to monitor the expenditure of these funds, thus creation of the checking accounts through the agency.

“I think it will be a wonderful program,” Scafide said.

Pictured: Boardman business-owner Shaun DaVill plans to open an N2 by DaVill nitrogen ice cream and bake shop in the Little Building in downtown East Liverpool.

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