Two-and-a-half years after the City of Evanston started making loans to help develop local businesses, a report says only one of the businesses funded so far is behind on its payments.

The report, to the city’s Economic Development Committee, says Chicago’s Home of Chicken & Waffles at 2424 Dempster St. is more than $5,000 behind on payments on its $200,000 loan, although it has made a total of $23,186.41 in payments.

The city has loaned out more than $1.5 million in a total of seven loans to six different businesses.

No payments are yet due on the largest loan — $675,000 to the Peckish Pig restaurant at 623 Howard St.

But the report says other businesses that have received funds — Ward Eight at 629-631 Howard St., Nomad Dreams LLC, operator of the Heartwood Center at 1818 Dempster St., Curt’s Cafe at 2922 Central St. and Corrado Cutlery at 716 Main St. — are all current or ahead of schedule on their payments.

Nancy Floy.

In addition, Heartwood owner Nancy Floy told the committee last week that she plans to pay off her $100,000 loan in full next month — five years ahead of schedule.

Floy says Heartwood has doubled its income as a result of the expansion the city helped fund and now is home to 50 small health-related businesses, up from 25 before.

And the center’s new Skylight event space, she says, is fully booked every weekend into next year.

“It’s been wildly successful,” Floy said, adding that she is planning to buy the parking lot and home just east of the center as well as an apartment building across the street.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Waffling on Paying?

    Judging by the considerable number of Yelp reviews criticizing Chicago Chicken and Waffles Evanston for its poor service and poorly trained employees, it's rather unsurprising that they'd also be in arrears with their loan payment. Let's hope the owners can turn it around on all levels. 

  2. This headline is misleading

    The current headline makes it sound like the City has a 14% failure rate with business loans – unless you read carefully, it's easy to miss that the business in arrears has already paid back the City's investment: taxpayers have thus far made money, not lost it.

    1. Only a little more than 10 percent

      Read the story again. The business has paid back $23,000 of a $200,000 loan, which is only a tad more than 10 percent.

    2. I agree

      Shouldn't the headline read – doesn't "one in seven …" refer to one out of every 7 loans? Aren't there only seven loans referred to in this article?

    3. Rewrite

      "Only 1 of city's 7 business loans is behind on payment" would make a more proper head.


    4. Economic development is NO investment of our money
      Please tell us how much money we tax payers have made on all these phony economic development activities? The Wine and Cheese Bar in your ward is a classic example of a complete give away of our tax dollars, Chicken and Waffles the owners had a significant amount of their own funds in this, it was very unclear if the Wine and Cheese Bar owners had even a penny of their funds in the deal in looking at the documents, Michele given you think these are good investments of our funds please enlighten all of us.

      Peckish One, seems to be doing well, but these owners are experienced in the business, but for any citizen to claim these are good investment of taxpayer money, is pure nonsense – you have no numbers to back up any return on investment or for that matter the city has no way to montor if these businesses are in trouble other than the loan repayment.

      The city has such major money problems with Capital which they are covering up, for us to be using any of our funds for private businesses shows the poor leadship of the Mayor and Council.
      ( Why is the city not going to fix the 100 year old water pipe under Sheridan road in the recent bike path project? Burying the old water pipe under a foot of new concrete and black top is pure waste)

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