While we typically like to use this blog to provide resources on small business loans for local entrepreneurs looking to expand their companies, from time to time we also like to put the spotlight on some of those entrepreneurs themselves. After all, what better reassurance of getting into the small business world than sharing some local success stories? And Matt Fish may just be Ohio’s biggest small business success story all year.
Last month, Fish, the owner and executive chef of the gourmet grilled cheese restaurant chain Melt Bar & Grilled, was awarded as the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 2015 Ohio Small Business Person of the Year. Beating out a dozen other local entrepreneurs for the top prize, Fish was the recipient of a plaque ceremony at Cuyahoga Community College on May 5 and then invited to the White House on May 8 to be honored as part of National Small Business Week.
“The SBA recognizes Mr. Fish because of his entrepreneurial accomplishments, leadership and contributions to the community […] he has also created many good jobs that have enriched our state’s economy, and he serves as an outstanding example for aspiring small business owners,” exclaimed Gil Goldberg, SBA District Director, in an official statement. Fish himself added that, “These past nine years working in Ohio and getting to know its awesome people have been remarkable. All of us at the Melt family look forward to many more years serving our guests amazing food and helping to build up our communities.”
The Plain Dealer, a local Cleveland news publication, reports that Fish used to work as a chef at another restaurant where he would end every shift by cooking an “unconventional grilled cheese sandwich” for himself. When his co-workers began asking Fish if they could get a sandwich too, he realized he might be onto a bigger idea than he initially realized. In 2006, Fish opened his restaurant, Melt Bar & Grilled, in Lakewood with just nine employees on his staff. The idea was to double as a craft beer and grilled cheese restaurant, but customer demand for the latter greatly overwhelmed the former.
After taking out a total of five SBA small business loans worth $3 million, Fish was able to expand his restaurant to eight locations in six cities across the state, employing nearly 400 Ohioans.
Here at Growth Capital Corp., we love hearing success stories like these. Entrepreneurs like Fish are the perfect demonstration of how the right SBA loan can turn a single good idea into a sprawling business with hundreds of new jobs available for local residents. If you’d like to become the next Matt Fish and need an SBA loan to realize your own entrepreneurial ambitions, reach out to Growth Capital today!