LISC National

Helping communities grow by investing in small businesses


Reopening Coffee Exchange after the 2018 fire that destroyed its building was never in doubt for owner Sarah Peters. The question was how.

Before the fire, the 5-year-old coffee shop on Montgomery Road had become a busy and beloved community gathering space, and the feelings were mutual for Peters and her family, who are deeply rooted in the neighborhood. Leaving Pleasant Ridge, either by calling it quits or moving to a new neighborhood, was never an option.

In fact, it seemed like a good opportunity to expand the flourishing business. Peters considered buying her own building; no locations were for sale. She found a new, much larger location building to lease, but no bank wanted to provide a loan to a business that was just renting.

Insurance money covered equipment losses but not much else. Peters raised money through Go Fund Me, but still needed a loan. One option after another fell through, and she and her husband, Joe, started making contingency plans. Could they pull money out of retirement accounts?

Finally, in November, Peters secured a $287,000 loan through the Cincinnati Access Fund, a collaboration among private banks, the City of Cincinnati and LISC of Greater Cincinnati. Coffee Exchange is set to open by early 2020 at 6041 Montgomery Road.

“We didn’t know what to do,” said Joe Peters, Sarah’s husband. “LISC was there to help us.” Continue Reading [+]...