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The Times
  • Burrito Jonz seeks funds from village

  • Burrito Jonz is planning to come to Herkimer, but the owner is still working to obtain a loan from the village to go ahead with plans.

    David Griffith, of the Mohawk Valley Small Business Development Center, attended Monday night’s meeting of the Herkimer village board with John Winter, who, along with his wife Amy, owns Burrito Jonz in Utica, to ask what is needed to move the process forward.

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  • Burrito Jonz is planning to come to Herkimer, but the owner is still working to obtain a loan from the village to go ahead with plans.
    David Griffith, of the Mohawk Valley Small Business Development Center, attended Monday night’s meeting of the Herkimer village board with John Winter, who, along with his wife Amy, owns Burrito Jonz in Utica, to ask what is needed to move the process forward.
    Griffith said he is working with Winter on his plan to open the new restaurant in the former Sprint store, located at 147 N. Main St.
    “We think it’s a good fit with the college here,” said Griffith. “They have received some funding from the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency and they were hoping for $25,000 in funding from the village’s loan account. We’d like to see if we can get the process moving forward.”
    He noted many people come to the Small Business Development Center with business plans and few of those plans have much chance of succeeding.
    Burrito Jonz, which is described as a fast-casual, Cali Mex styled restaurant at 470 French Rd., Utica, has been successful in that location and he thinks it will do well in Herkimer as well.
    Clerk-Treasurer Amanda Viscomi said she had sent Winter a letter in September requesting specific information, including what equipment he planned to purchase with the funds and what kind of a lease agreement he had on the property, but had received no response until she had a telephone call last Thursday about the matter. While Griffith had apparently received the information requested, the village had not.
    Winter said he would like to use money from the village’s revolving loan fund for a sign and for equipment for the new operation, but Village Attorney Nick Macri said the funds could be used only for equipment. “The money has to be spent on tangible items,” he said, noting the village could then repossess and sell the items if there was a default on the loan.
    Macri noted while he hoped Burrito Jonz would be a successful venture, a business that borrowed from the fund previously had defaulted on a loan and village officials had to be cautious.
    Village board members said they would have to determine how much money is available in the fund before they can approve a loan.
    The loan fund was established with funds from the Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Home and Community Renewal.
    In response to questions from board members, Winter said he planned to hire three full-time employees and six to 10 part-time employees. He has a five-year lease agreement with building owner Alex Dorantes. He said he could use the funding from the IDA for items the loan from the village fund couldn’t cover.
    Page 2 of 2 - In May, the Herkimer County IDA approved a $15,000 grant for Burrito Jonz.
    Herkimer County obtained the funding for the microenterprise grant program through the state Office of Home and Community Renewal. The program is administered by the Herkimer County IDA.
    Dorantes said Burrito Jonz will serve as the anchor point for the building and he thinks the other openings will soon be filled as well. He added he expects there will be a positive impact down North Main Street.
    Macri advised Winter to send the village a cost analysis on his plans for the funding so the board can consider his request.
    The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 5.

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