Dr. Steven Groff could hardly contain his excitement about the multi-million renovation project being done at Wyndridge Farm in Dallastown.
"We want to share our love of this farm with others and we want to surprise them with the level of food and beverage quality and hospitality quality they would never expect on a farm," he said.
Steven Groff and his wife Julie Groff opened the 77-acre Wyndridge Farm in December at 885 S. Pleasant Ave., where they provide a venues for weddings and receptions, holiday parties, corporate retreats and small business expositions.
Loan approved: The Groffs recently were approved for a $2.142 million Small Business Administration loan of about $2.1 million to be used for a renovation and building project at Wyndridge Farm, where the couple is sprucing up their 100-plus-year-old barn, building a new tasting room and commercial kitchen, and expanding their crafty cider beverage business.
The 20-year loan came from the SBA 504 loan program offered through the partnership of the York County Economic Alliance, Fulton Bank and EDC Finance Corporation, a division of the Economic Development Co. of Lancaster County. The program provides small and medium-sized businesses with the long-term, fixed-rate financing that is typically available to larger businesses. Access to that funding can help a company create jobs and expand its facilities.
A borrower usually has to come up with at least 10 percent of the funding needed, while the SBA program funds up to 40 percent of the loan and a bank provides 50 percent, said Kenetha Hansen, vice president of business development with York County Economic Alliance.
"One of our missions is to make sure that businesses are aware of the various resources available to them," she said. "(The SBA 504 loan) is a tool that is very beneficial."
She said the Groffs will receive the loan after their project is complete. Steve Groff said construction for the project started in August and is expected to be completed by mid-July.
Farm project: While Steven Groff declined to disclose the full cost of his farm's project, he did say the loan provides "vital assistance" in the couple's efforts to make their new company an economic engine that produces new tourism dollars and job growth in the region.
"We think this could be a mid-Atlantic destination," he said. "In Pennsylvania, the two biggest industries are farming and tourism. (Wyndridge) has both. We're developing agritourism."
The Wyndridge project includes equipping the two-level barn with new siding, windows and a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The 8,000-square-foot barn is climate controlled and seats 270 people, Steven Groff said.
Wyndridge's new tasting room will give visitors a place to order from its small-plates menu and to try the farm's alcohol beverages that also are sold at Central Market in York City, at local beer distributors and at stores in Lancaster and Baltimore.
"(The tasting room) is a rustic chique venue that will seat around 70 people," Steven Groff said. "It has a beautiful view of the southern part of the county."
The new 3,000-square-foot commercial kitchen will be led by the farm's executive chef Matthew Siegmund. The kitchen will provide the food for all events happening at the farm, Steven Groff said.
'New passion': Before opening Wyndridge Farm, Steven Groff was an orthopaedic surgeon and founding chairman of local OSS Health. However, he said he never forgot how he grew up on a dairy farm in Lancaster County and is glad to return to the agricultural life.
"This is now my new passion," Steven Groff said. "My wife and I are doing this together."
—Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.