Aid to support restaurant amid expansion plan | News, Sports, Jobs


BEMUS POINT — The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency is helping a restaurant in Bemus Point after a federal business loan fell through.

During a recent County IDA meeting, members approved a $250,000 EDA Cares Act loan to the Bemus Point Inn Restaurant for machinery, equipment and working capital. The money came from the US Economic Development Administration when it made a $10.5 million grant to County IDA through the CARES Act. The intent of the grant was to provide capital in the form of soft loans to both businesses and nonprofits to respond to economic damage resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to County IDA’s Rosie Strandburg, the Bemus Point Inn restaurant, owned by Laurie Miller, has six full-time employees and 11 part-time employees. She shared that it had to close several times during COVID and lost revenue.

As part of its recovery, the company created a new marketing opportunity called “Buns on the Run” where, among other things, they installed a driveway and sold their popular cinnamon rolls.

The restaurant was expanding and applied for a loan from the Small Business Administration. Miller had been approved for the funds, but that approval was withdrawn through no fault of Miller’s.

By Gregory Bacon [email protected]

“When she was admitted and was in the process of completing her paperwork for the SBA, the SBA ran out of money.” said Strandburg.

Along with approaching the IDA, Miller also received a bank loan.

There is also an apartment on the property which is currently vacant. Strandburg said Miller would like to turn it into an Airbnb rental in the next two to three years.

IDA County unanimously approved the loan.

After the meeting, The Post-Journal/OBSERVER reached out to Miller to discuss their plans. The Bemus Point Inn Restaurant is a community staple. The store first opened in 1946. She and her husband Dave have owned it since June 1, 2009.

By Gregory Bacon [email protected]

Miller noted that the Bemus Point Inn Restaurant is currently closed for construction. They plan to be open on June 29th.

Buns on the Run will be a separate drive-through, expected to open in late July.

The setup was a bit chaotic. They began planning for the passage last summer. First, Miller said, they reached out to all of their neighbors to make sure they were okay with the plans. Next, they went before the relevant bodies to get approval for the project. They then applied for funding from the SBA, which initially offered them a $900,000 loan. As they began construction, they were told that the SBA could no longer fund the expansion, so they eventually sought assistance from the county IDA.

Miller said they wanted a drive-through for a number of reasons. She said there are many people who don’t have time to sit down for breakfast. Also, some people may still be avoiding restaurants due to COVID-19.

“With a drive-through, we never have to close again. We will always be able to be there for our community, for our employees.” She said.

Although they are installing the drive through, no changes are planned for the main restaurant. The front of the house will continue to be a full-service sit-down location. The drive-thru will be installed at the rear, with the necessary signage directing traffic.

They plan to have the drive-thru open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. and until early or mid-afternoon.

Buns on the Run will have its own reduced menu. Some of the planned menu items include breakfast and lunch sandwiches, crustless quiches, side salads, and fresh fruit. “It’s going to be classic food. It won’t be burgers and fries. We won’t have anything fried.” She said.

And of course they will sell their famous cinnamon rolls. Your business slogan is “Where you can wake up to the cutest buns in town.” From there they got their name for the passage.

Miller commends those who have continued to support her over the years. “We felt most of the love around us. We have the best people, the best customers, our community is so great.” She said.

Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox


Comments are closed.