Aid to help the Bemus restaurant as part of an expansion plan | News, Sports, Jobs
BEMUS POINT – The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency is helping a Bemus Point restaurant after a failed federal business loan.
At a recent county IDA meeting, members approved an EDA Cares Act loan to the Bemus Point Inn restaurant for $250,000 for machinery, equipment and working capital. The money came from the United States Economic Development Administration when it provided the county’s IDA with a $10.5 million grant through the CARES Act. The intent of the grant was to provide capital, in the form of low-interest loans, to businesses and nonprofit organizations to respond to economic harm resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Rosie Strandburg of the county IDA, the Bemus Point Inn restaurant, owned by Laurie Miller, has six full-time and 11 part-time employees. She shared that during COVID it had to close several times and lost revenue.
As part of its takeover, the company created a new marketing opportunity called “Runaway Buns” where they would set up a drive-thru and sell its popular cinnamon rolls, among other items.
The restaurant was in the process of expanding and applied for a loan from the Small Business Administration. Miller had been approved for the funds, however, that approval was withdrawn, through no fault of Miller.
“When she was approved and in the final stages of completing her SBA paperwork, the SBA ran out of money,” said Strandburg.
In addition to approaching IDA, Miller also received a bank loan.
There is also an apartment on the property which is currently vacant. Strandburg said that in the next two to three years, Miller would like to turn it into an Airbnb rental.
The county IDA approved the loan unanimously.
After the meeting, The Post-Journal/OBSERVER contacted Miller to discuss his plans. The Bemus Point Inn Restaurant is a community staple. The business opened in 1946. She and her husband, Dave, have owned the business since June 1, 2009.
Miller noted that at this time, the Bemus Point Inn restaurant is currently closed due to construction. They plan to open on June 29.
Buns on the Run will be a separate drive-thru and will likely open around the end of July.
The construction was a bit chaotic. They started planning the drive-thru last summer. First, Miller said, they approached all of their neighbors to make sure they were on board with the plans. Then they went to the appropriate councils to get approval for the project. Subsequently, they applied for funding from the SBA, which initially offered them a loan of $900,000. Once they started construction, they were told that the SBA would no longer be able to fund the expansion, so they ended up asking the county IDA for help.
Miller said they wanted a drive-thru for several reasons. She said there are many people who don’t have time to sit down for breakfast. Additionally, some people may still be avoiding restaurants due to COVID-19.
“With a drive-thru, we will never have to close again. We can always be there for our community, for our employees,” she says.
Even though they are installing drive-thru, there are no changes planned for the main restaurant. Front of House will continue to be a full service establishment with table service. The drive-thru will be installed at the back, with the necessary signage, directing traffic.
They plan to open the drive-thru Monday through Saturday, starting at 6:30 a.m. and continuing until early or mid-afternoon.
Buns on the Run will have its own reduced menu. Some of the menu items include breakfast and lunch sandwiches, crustless quiches, side salads, and fresh fruit. “It’s going to be classic food. It won’t be burgers and fries. We won’t have anything fried. she says.
And of course, they will be selling their famous cinnamon rolls. Their business slogan is “Where you can wake up to the sweetest buns in town.” This is where they got their name for the drive-thru.
Miller commends those who have continued to support them over the years. “We felt the most love around us. We have the best people, the best customers, our community is so amazing,” she says.