Lower Loan Amount OK’d for East Liverpool Deli

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – A request for a $50,000 loan for startup costs at the 6th Street Cafeteria and Deli was rejected by the Community Improvement Corporation last week, but a lower amount will be granted. 

Ray Stephens, new owner of what was formerly Bricker’s Cafeteria, had requested the loan for the purchase of equipment ($15,000), working capital ($14,000), furniture/fixtures ($5,000), inventory ($7,000) and supplies ($2,000) as well as insurance, fees and licenses and advertising. 

CIC Director Bill Cowan told the organization’s finance committee there is only $63,000 available in its three accounts, and he had informed Stephens he could not recommend a $50,000 loan at this time.

Stephens could not attend the Feb. 22 meeting due to illness, according to President Pat Scafide, but Cowan reported Stephens said he understood and said even a $20,000 loan would be helpful.

“We just don’t have it. He said he’d take anything,” Cowan told members.

Cowan was asked how much the CIC has already loaned Stephens and whether those obligations are current, and he said the business owner has borrowed $60,000 in two $30,000 loans, both of which are current.

Stephens recently opened Chef Ray’s Diamond Bar & Grill just about a block from the cafeteria and also owns Chef Ray’s on St. Clair Avenue in St. Clair Township.

Committee Chairman Al Fricano said he favored the lower amount if $20,000 will keep jobs in town.

Member Darlene Kinsey, an employee of the city health department, said the equipment in the cafeteria is antiquated and the former owner was “on the verge of having to close down” after health department inspections. She said the equipment Stephen needs to buy “will keep him from having to close down.”

Member Dan Dietz, a former owner of the cafeteria, said most of the equipment at the business dates to the 1970s. 

“If we can help him, we really should,” Dietz said.

Mayor Bobby Smith, also a CIC member, said he’d “be all for” the loan.

Scafide said Stephens is saving 17 jobs in the city by purchasing and operating the cafeteria and created 34 new jobs with his new bar and grill.

Fricano moved to recommend the $20,000 loan to the full board, with Javens offering a second. 

During a full board meeting immediately following the committee session, members voted unanimously in favor of the loan, with a 4% interest rate. 

Scafide said he had called Stephens on a recent night to tell him he was downtown and could not find a place to park due to the customers frequenting his businesses.

Pictured at top: Ray Stephens, right, owner of 6th Street Cafeteria and Deli, and his daughter, Tosha Stephens, were at Bricker’s Cafeteria in January as the East Liverpool restaurant served customers for the last time after 93 years. Stephens purchased the restaurant from Greg Bricker.

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