When a pair of seasoned restaurant owners decided to open an eatery in their village of Mont Clare, PA, it was 2012 and the word “COVID” wasn’t in everyday vocabulary. Laura Vernola and her husband Ed Simpson were interested in a property called Eagles Nest Deli. It wasn’t for sale back then in 2012, but halfway through the pandemic, it would be.
So how do you take advantage of opportunity when it comes at one of the most challenging times in the history of the hospitality industry? After being turned down for a traditional loan, Vernola and Simpson worked with Seedcopa + SeedcoDE on an economic development loan application together with The Victory Bank. The Seedcopa team offers federal, state and local loan programs that can often be a complement to conventional, commercial loans. A typical economic development loan requires a contribution from the business owner of as little as 10%. Soon Mont Clare Deli & Market was becoming a reality.
“Our journey was a real one, and we are thankful for the support of Seedcopa + SeedcoDE, The Victory Bank and Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers,” says Laura.
Mont Clare Deli & Market opened last April after renovations that included installing a full kitchen and removing a wall to provide more space. Located at 500 Bridge Street in Mont Clare, all food is made to order, including sandwiches, prepared foods, breakfast and pastries. Canned beer and cocktails are also available, and catering was just added in July. Outdoor seating will be added soon, taking advantage of the 10,000 square feet of space that includes the building, parking lot and outdoor area.
It’s all located about 10 minutes from the couple’s other restaurant, Steel City Coffeehouse and Brewery in Phoenixville. Read more of their story, as told by business reporter Donna Rovins of the Daily Local News, Pottstown Mercury and Reading Eagle.