Issue: June 2008 Issue
Mentor Means Business
A plethora of resources and easy access to highways and railways make Mentor a strong economic engine for the region.
When Alan Iacafano, owner of World Wines & Liquor, wanted to purchase the old Sam’s Golf building on Mentor Avenue, he knew he would need money to renovate the front of the building. So he sought help from the Mentor Economic Assistance Corp., which gave him a financing package that allowed him to purchase the building and give it a face-lift. Today, World Wines & Liquor has doubled its retail space and Iacafano receives rental income from another tenant in his building.
As the sixth-largest city in Ohio for retail by volume sales and the seventh-largest city for manufacturing firms, Mentor is already a strong economic engine. And, by helping companies like World Wines, MEACO has been keeping the engine well-oiled and in prime condition for future growth.
The not-for-profit certified development corporation works with the city, the Small Business Administration and local banks to provide low-interest loans to Mentor and Northeast Ohio businesses. Through the SBA 504 Loan Program, companies can receive long-term fixed rates, subordinate mortgage financing and acquisition and/or renovation of capital assets, including land, buildings and equipment. On a smaller scale, the Small Business Loan Fund provides companies as much as $25,000 in financing to make building improvements or purchase equipment.
With a portfolio of 33 loans totaling more than $11 million, MEACO has created success stories for companies such as Jones Printing, Core-Tech, US Endoscopy, Holiday Inn Express & Suites LaMalfa, Dairy Queen, All Around Gymnastics Academy, as well as World Wines & Liquor.
The economic impact on the city is equally impressive, says Tom Thielman, economic development administrator for the city of Mentor and executive director of MEACO. “The new businesses have resulted in the creation or retention of more than 1,500 jobs.”
In addition to MEACO, the city offers other incentives to entice businesses. The Mentor Incentive Grant requires companies to invest in building and/or machinery and equipment and create and maintain a payroll at an agreed upon level. To qualify, companies must propose a level of investment consisting of an extended or new property lease, real property investment and personal property investment linked to new job creation.
The Mentor Economic Development Grant is a one-time incentive limited to a maximum of $10,000 based on a combination of investment and payroll taxes in the city. It requires a company to commit to a minimum of three years within the city at one location.
Finally, through the Community Reinvestment Area Tax Abatement, Mentor has created two areas in which real property tax abatement is granted for any increased property valuation resulting from new construction or through renovation of existing structures. The first district surrounds the Great Lakes Mall and the other roughly includes the industrial corridor near state Route 2 and Hopkins Road.
“Mentor has a lot to offer businesses of all types and sizes,” Thielman says. “In addition to the various grants and resources available, we have solid infrastructure for manufacturing and foot traffic for retail,and we have great access to highways and rail lines.”
Mentor Economic Assistance Corp.
8500 Civic Center Blvd.
Mentor, OH 44060
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