EASTON, Pa. (September 19, 2017) – Unity Bank has provided a $1.5 million Small Business Administration (SBA) loan to Palmer Township residents William "Billy" Cornish and Gregory Melhem to fund the recent renovation of their downtown Easton nightclub and restaurant previously known as Drinky’s. The business was recently reopened as One Centre Square, the city’s new live music and arts venue.
“We had a good run with Drinky’s, but felt the Lehigh Valley needed a venue to attract artists and performers of all types from rap to rock to country,” said Cornish. “One Centre Square, with a capacity of 900 people, really helps fill a void and it’s not just for music. We are booking comedians and there has been interest in the venue for private parties and weddings.”
Cornish and Melhem, who both grew-up in the Easton area, had operated Drinky’s for 13 years before closing it in January to help renovate the facility and make way for a new entertainment venue designed to host nationally touring acts of all genres.
“We have been customers at Unity Bank for many years and appreciate them working with us to help bring the vision for One Centre Square to life,” said Cornish. “Unity really made the process as easy as it could possibly be.”
Cornish and Melhem own 1-6 Centre Square, an approximate 10,000-square-foot, two story building. Drinky’s and The Standard, an adjacent restaurant also under the partners’ ownership, occupied the ground level, but the second floor office space was mostly vacant. The property renovation included the addition of a 24-foot by 20-foot stage, second floor balcony overlooking the stage, new sound system, oak hardwood floors throughout, bathrooms and windows.
“We wish Billy and Gregory continued success with One Centre Square,” said Unity Bank President & CEO James A. Hughes. “They have been part of the Easton community for many years and have a good understanding of the Lehigh Valley entertainment industry. They are certain to bring some great performers to the community.”
Unity participates in the 7(a) Loan Program, SBA’s primary program to help start-up and existing small businesses obtain financing when they might not be eligible for business loans through normal lending channels. The bank also participates in the SBA 504 Loan program, an economic development program that offers small businesses long-term, fixed-rate financing used to acquire fixed assets for expansion or modernization. Unity Bank is consistently among the top 10 of New Jersey SBA lenders in loan volume. The program also serves parts of Pennsylvania and is expanding into New York.