GIBSON CITY — On the morning of Dec. 9, Gibson City’s five-member Community Development and Assistance Program (CDAP) committee voted unanimously to recommend the city council approve granting a CDAP loan to a local business to help it buy a downtown building at 301 N. Sangamon Ave.
CDAP is a revolving-loan fund established to provide funds for new or existing businesses to provide economic development in Gibson City, with an emphasis on creating and retaining jobs.
City council members ratified the loan agreement with Pioletti’s Spaghetti at their meeting later that same day.
The agreement calls for a loan of $60,000 to be made from CDAP funds to Nicole Pioletti Miller, owner of Pioletti’s Spaghetti, to help her purchase the former office of the Gibson City Courier. The seller is current owner Matt Barnard, who operates Crop Copters from that location. Barnard’s business has expanded, so he plans to construct a new building.
CDAP Committee Chairman Tracy Epps, president of the Bank of Gibson City, said the loan will have a fixed interest rate of 3 percent for the first 10 years of the 15-year mortgage. Thus, the city will hold the first mortgage, and Miller will make monthly mortgage payments of $414.
Miller’s business expansion plan totals $80,000, but Barnard will fund the $20,000 not covered by the CDAP loan. Miller will make quarterly repayments of $649 directly to Barnard at 5 percent interest.
Epps provided documentation from certified appraiser Rick Kerchenfaut showing the building has 3,125 square-feet of space and is worth $86,000. Miller said the commercial overhead door at the rear of the building will allow her to take delivery of food and supplies, instead of taking time to pick up such items as she does now.
Miller also expects to spend $10,000 for some small building renovations and new equipment. Epps said building renovations already made by Barnard include electrical and plumbing upgrades and a new roof.
Miller will use the 301 N. Sangamon Ave. location to expand her “take-and-bake” meal service and catering capabilities, plus offering new services such as small-plate cafe-style service on Friday evenings and “dinners by invitation.”
The “invitation” part of the term means Miller’s business will not operate as a regular restaurant. Business meetings, organization meals and special-event dinners will be arranged in advance.
The business is now the preferred vendor for weddings at Engelbrecht Farms near Paxton. With the expansion, Miller hopes to add at least one employee.
Miller currently pays $600 per month to rent the commercial kitchen at Father Kirk Memorial Hall of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Gibson City. The repayment to CDAP for the loan is set at $600 per month. As a church member, Miller will maintain the kitchen’s commercial food license and, in return, has been told she can use the facilities for overflow preparation or cooking, if needed.
Miller said the new location will give her “exponentially more access to serve more meals.” Miller said she expects to triple the “take-and-bake” retail portion of her business after she begins operations at the new location by March 2020.
Miller began the service to provide individuals and families with ready-to-cook meals last March. The service grossed $34,730 from March through October. The meals would sell out in 15 minutes, so she has added the ability to pre-order online.
Miller grew up in Champaign-Urbana but is now a Gibson City resident married to Andy Miller. The couple have two high-school-age children, son Ian and daughter Ryen.
Nicole Miller is currently employed as a full-time paramedic with Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services. Miller also has an associate’s degree in business. Her husband is the son of Gibson City residents Kim and Vicki Miller, and he works in construction.
Customers can contact Miller through the “let’s talk” section of her website at www.piloettispaghetti.com.
CDAP committee members are Epps, Larry Heacock, Brian Steidinger, Daniel Dickey and Peg Stalter.