McHenry approves loan request for proposed coffee shop

Proposed coffee shop receives $34K; owners hope to open later this fall

McHENRY – A proposed coffee shop on North Green Street is one step closer to opening its doors.

The McHenry City Council unanimously approved a $34,000 loan request from the business owners through the city’s revolving loan program at its meeting Monday evening.

“This always seems to be a win-win,” Alderman Geoffrey Blake said. “It’s a great way to give businesses a boost when they’re trying to get started. I have no problem with this.”

The owners, Lisa Brand and Christine Kernes, plan to use the money to cover the cost of remodeling the building at 1208 N. Green St., and to purchase equipment, furniture and fixtures and as working capital.

The two are shooting to open the cafe in late October or November, Brand said.

Brand, who has training as a barista and is originally from Germany, plans to create a European-style cafe, which would offer coffee, tea, baked goods and breakfast items, according to the application and committee minutes. The business would create six jobs.

The loan program is designed to provide low-interest loans to qualified existing and prospective businesses to help them create jobs and expand the city’s sales and property tax base, according to council documents.

Under the agreement, the interest rate on the five-year loan would equal the prime rate, which is currently 3.25 percent.

If the business closes before the loan is paid, they still would be responsible for paying it off, Kernes said.

The council approved a $75,000 loan to Buddyz Chicago Pizzeria in March 2010, which was paid off when the business was sold this year, the documents said. Epic Cycle and Fitness was issued a $25,000 loan in November 2011.

The revolving loan fund currently has $86,000 available.

The McHenry City Council also approved in a 4-3 vote a temporary use permit for a tattoo parlor on West Main Street.

Some aldermen voiced concerns that the temporary use process was undermining the Planning and Zoning Commission. A temporary use permit allows a business owner to open on a temporary basis while seeking a permanent variance through the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council.

“I’ve heard from commissioners past and present that it’s hard to say no to a business that’s already been allowed by the City Council to open up,” Alderman Andy Glab said.

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