In just eight years, Doug Shoemaker worked his way up at Syracuse’s The Frog Tavern on the shore of Lake Wawasee. First he did all the odd jobs of an intern, then became general manager and now he owns the popular tavern and restaurant, including its 70-foot dinner houseboat, the S.S. Lillypad.
Shoemaker bought The Frog with a small business loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration 504 program through Crossroads Bank and the Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corporation.
Indiana Statewide CDC works with local lenders to provide SBA 504 loans to owners of small businesses. SBA 504 loans can give small business owners long-term, fixed rate financing similar to commercial loan terms available for large companies.
Summer is the busiest season for The Frog. This is the 83rd summer for The Frog, and the first for Shoemaker as owner. Shoemaker says, “We’re open year ’round. But 80 percent of our business is between Memorial Day and Labor Day. We have 45 employees in the summer and 15 the rest of the year.”
The Frog’s former owners, Bob and Karen Fawcett, hoped Shoemaker would buy their business when they got ready to retire. For the last eight years or so Shoemaker had put almost as much of his heart and soul into the place as they had.
Shoemaker met the Fawcetts when he lived above their other restaurant in downtown North Manchester while he was sports information director and earning his MBA at Manchester University.
Shoemaker says, “The Indiana Statewide CDC, Crossroads Bank and SBA went above and beyond to make sure this purchase went through for me. They must have felt that the investment was a secure one, and more importantly, they had the faith and trust that I could keep The Frog in good standing. So in the end, the SBA 504 program has given me an opportunity to start a business.”
Shoemaker continues, “With the SBA 504 program, a person without the means and financials to do it on his own, can now pursue an opportunity to take a business that he loves and make it his own and continue to build upon its history and tradition.”
Randy Holler of Crossroads Bank says, “Doug needed to finance 90 percent of the project, and participation from the Indiana Statewide CDC and SBA enabled the bank to fund the property.”
The Indiana Statewide CDC has invested over $471 million in more than one thousand Indiana companies since 1983, creating or saving 26,500 jobs. Indiana Statewide CDC observed its 30th anniversary last year and is the most prolific CDC in Indiana.
Since Congress created the 504 program, SBA 504 loans have funded over $62 billion to more than 130,000 small businesses. In turn, those small firms have created or retained over 2.1 million jobs for the U.S. economy.
Indiana Statewide CDC Executive Director Jean Wojtowicz says, “SBA 504 loans are effective because borrowing companies can put as little as 10 percent down and receive a low, fixed interest rate for as long as 20 years. The SBA guarantees bonds sold privately to finance a portion of the loan. With the guarantee, we can offer loan rates more favorable than conventional financing.”
Shoemaker says “I was the sports information director at Manchester College for 13 years, where a fast pace, time sensitivity and precision to detail were critical to the job, and the restaurant business entails the same.”
Source: Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corporation, Inside INdiana Business