Brad Hobbs: Central Ohio’s ‘Bankable’ Restaurateur
Growing up in Youngstown, OH, Brad Hobbs’ first job was delivering pizza for Little Caesars, followed by a position at TGI Fridays. He knew right away that he would be spending the rest of his life in the restaurant business.
“The whole culture appealed to me,” he says.
Brad has worked at many restaurants and bars in Ohio, as well as Las Vegas. After settling in Columbus 14 years ago, he knew that he wanted to go into business for himself. Brad and his family live in the Olde Towne East neighborhood, where he aspired to open his first establishment, the Olde Towne Tavern – but he struggled to figure out how to cross the bridge from restaurant employee to owner. He was plagued by the long-held, and long-standing belief that banks don’t loan to restaurants because they are a risky endeavors. He exhausted all of his personal resources trying to determine how to get a loan, and finally stumbled on a surprise.
“I spoke to a gentleman who bluntly asked me if I had been to a bank. I sluffed it off and said, ‘From everything I’ve heard, banks don’t lend money,’” Hobbs says. “He was actually with Chase Bank.”
Hobbs talked with one of the man’s colleagues, who gave him the ins and outs on the small business lending process, and recommended Huntington Bank as a lender that commonly assists with capital for startups.
“We went into Huntington, and I was prepared,” Hobbs says. “Our business plan request was for $150,000, and Huntington agreed to loan us $75,000.”