State officials kicked off National Small Business Week on Monday morning by putting a spotlight on a former ice cream parlor in the Financial District that has been turned into a bar and grill by the same Dorchester contractors who established Ledge Kitchen & Drinks in Lower Mills.
State Treasurer Steven Grossman and state Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry toured the restaurant, called Slate, which received funds through a small business banking partnership that Grossman’s office is pushing.
Meetinghouse Bank, which is located in the Lower Mills neighborhood, gave the owners of Slate an extended $500,000 line of credit for the opening and operation of the new business, which opened earlier this year.
The owners are Brendan and Greg Feeney, brothers who are natives of County Sligo in Ireland and who operate Feeney Brothers Contracting.
The Treasurer’s office initiative behind the $500,000 line of credit provides state cash deposits to community banks that in turn provide loans to small businesses. Since its inception last year, $231 million has been deposited in 44 Bay State banks, according to Grossman’s office, with a resulting leverage of 892 small business loans. The Slate loan helped create 32 jobs, Grossman’s office noted.
“I looked at these two brothers, and I said these are two guys who I have no doubt any small bank would want to partner with,” the treasurer told the Reporter after the tour. Noting the wood paneling and high top tables, Grossman gave the restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a good review. “The next few times I’m going to have breakfast downtown, I’m going to say ‘meet me at Slate,’ ” he said.
“Brendan and I are continuously encouraged by the level of support we have received as small business owners in Boston,” Greg Feeney said in a statement. “The hands-on and open-door policy approach by our local political and community leaders has created an environment where opportunities for entrepreneurship and small business ownership are flourishing.”
In her own statement, Forry, chair of the House side of the Small Business and Community Development Committee, said she hopes the celebration of small businesses “will become an annual tradition” and is a “wonderful opportunity to highlight and reflect on the many important economic contributions of our state’s nearly 582,600 entrepreneurs and small businesses.”
Grossman, who went on a tour of ice cream parlors during his run for treasurer in 2010, pointed out that the Slate building used to house a Brigham’s. “I can’t get away from ice cream,” he said.