- Economic Development
- Business Incentives
- Restaurant Expansion and Attraction Program
RESTAURANT ATTRACTION AND EXPANSION PROGRAM
The City of Wadsworth Restaurant Expansion & Attraction Program (REAP) is intended to assist in offsetting the cost to prospective food-related businesses in Wadsworth. It is designed to help attract new restaurants while also supporting the expansion of existing food establishments. The REAP seeks to help address the cost of commercial kitchens, thereby helping minimize a barrier to entry into the restaurant industry.
This grant program offers a 50% matching reimbursement. For example, qualifying improvements which cost a total of $100,000 would be eligible to be reimbursed up to $50,000 through the REAP. Reimbursement awards shall not exceed $75,000 per location. Funds will only be awarded to businesses that satisfy all eligibility requirements of the program. The applicant(s) further understand there shall be no longer than a period of two (2) years from the execution of this contract and upon issuance of an occupancy permit. Reimbursements will be made after successfully obtaining an occupancy permit to conduct business activities.
The funds are made possible by the City of Wadsworth and administered by the City’s Department of Economic Development, and are evaluated by a review committee consisting of community stakeholders. Applicant(s) for the REAP understand that funds are limited and are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline to file applications is Friday, June 2, 2023 at 4:00 PM (EST). The applicant(s) further understand that invoices and other relevant purchasing documentation for eligible expenses/purchases will be provided to the City’s Office of Economic Development for financial management/auditing/accounting purposes.
Eligible applicants must be establishing a sit-down, full-service restaurant within the corporate limits of Wadsworth, OH. Both drive-thru and drive-in establishments are ineligible to participate within this program. For the purpose of this program, a full-service restaurant is defined as a location which is regularly and in a bona fide manner, used and kept open for the serving of breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner to guests for compensation and which has suitable kitchen facilities connected therewith, containing conveniences for cooking an assortment of foods which may be required for such meals. The sale or service of sandwiches (whether prepared in a kitchen or made elsewhere and heated up on the premises) or snack foods shall be permitted as a component of a full-service restaurant, as defined herein. Additionally, the establishment may, or may not, serve alcoholic beverages.
Establishments primarily engaged in the following activities are not to be considered full-service restaurants:
- Selling a specialty snack (e.g., ice cream, frozen yogurt, candy, cookies) or nonalcoholic beverages, except mobile vehicles, for consumption on or near the premises--are classified in U.S. Industry 722515, Snack and Nonalcoholic Beverage Bars;
- Retailing confectionery goods and nuts not packaged for immediate consumption--are classified in U.S. Industry 445292, Confectionery and Nut Stores;
- Retailing baked goods (e.g., pretzels, doughnuts, cookies, and bagels) not baked on the premises and not for immediate consumption--are classified in U.S. Industry 445291, Baked Goods Stores; and
- Preparing and serving alcoholic beverages, known as bars, taverns, or nightclubs--are classified in Industry 722410, Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages).
- Existing food establishments are eligible if the grant is to be used to increase menu offerings, service hours and/or indoor or outdoor seating capacity. Increased service shall be defined as additions in keeping with the definition of “full-service restaurant” as defined above.
- The eligible business must be a permitted use in Wadsworth and be in compliance with all laws, zoning ordinances, rules, and regulations applicable to business construction, modification, and operation within the City of Wadsworth.
- Eligible businesses will be required to receive all required permits from the city, county, and state; and pass all inspections.
- Eligible uses for the funding include:
- New Commercial Kitchen Hood Equipment, including Applicable Fire Suppression Systems
- New Commercial Ovens/Cooking Ranges
- New Commercial Sinks
- New Grease Traps
- New Commercial Food Holding and Warming Equipment
- New Commercial Refrigerator or Freezer Units
- Interior leasehold improvements which create or expand a new full-service restaurant
- For spaces being converted into a restaurant, funds may be spent on other non-removable building improvements such as infrastructure, doors, permanent partitions, sprinkling and related fire suppression, flooring, wall coverings, mill work, lighting fixtures, and other closely associated interior building renovations.
- Ineligible uses of funds including but not limited to:
- Real estate acquisition costs and/or rents
- Replacement of like kind kitchen equipment which does not result in a significant and measurable change from the existing menu offering or dining experience
- Replacement of like kind interior buildout improvements which do not result in a significant change to seating capacity or total occupancy levels
- Lease deposits
- Removable shelving, fixtures and tables
- Consulting fees associated with legal, design or engineering services including wages for work to be performed as part of restaurant improvement
- Work performed prior to the grant award being assigned
- Soft costs including permits and inspection fees
- Previous project sites which received REAP funding are ineligible to reapply
- Common restaurant repairs or upgrades which do not materially increase the dining seating capacity or expand the food menu offerings
- Other expenses not deemed to meet the spirit and intent of the REAP as determined by the review committee
FIRST ROUND OF RESTAURANT EXPANSION & ATTRACTION PROGRAM (REAP)
The Restaurant Expansion and Attraction Program (REAP) is set to give out its first city-funded grant awards. The program was funded with a total budget of $50,000 and offers a 50% reimbursement on eligible improvements associated with new or expanding restaurants within the city.
The first round of award recipients for this program is as follows:
- SONNETS ($18,000) is a coffee shop and whiskey bar with a New Orleans-style cuisine, and the renovation will increase seating capacity and construct a new kitchen with a hood ventilation system.
- Great Oaks Tavern ($16,000) is a family-friendly entertainment venue and full-service restaurant, and the renovation will add new seats and expand the kitchen and prep area.
- UnWined Main Street ($10,500) is a casual cocktail, bourbon, and wine bar, and the renovation will build out a commercial kitchen with a hood, freezer/refrigerator unit, and expanded kitchen and prep areas.
- Water Main Grille ($5,500) is a full-service diner specializing in breakfast and grille food and the renovation will install new exterior and interior doors to improve circulation and create additional dining space, purchase a compact upright reach-in freezer unit and resurface the kitchen floor.
Private investment is expected to exceed $1,191,325 for additional restaurant and kitchen upgrades. The City of Wadsworth plans to have another round of funding offered through the program later this year.