2014-06-25 / Front Page

EDC, city study request for financial backing for sports bar

BY TONY VINDELL
Reporter


From left to right, Maribell and Ram Ramirez and Virginia and Lupe Ruiz addressing the EDC board. 
(Photo by TonyVindell) From left to right, Maribell and Ram Ramirez and Virginia and Lupe Ruiz addressing the EDC board. (Photo by TonyVindell) Two of the newest trustees with the Raymondville school district want to open a sports bar they say will be a “family restaurant that sells liquor.”

They, and their wives, are seeking financial support from the Raymondville Economic Development Corp. and from the city.

Lupe Ruiz, the board’s president, his wife Virginia, and board member Ram Ramirez and his wife Maribell, are in the planning stages to open a sports bar called Wing Champs.

They said they have $40,000 of their own money to invest and plan to seek a bank loan of $174,000.

The sports bar will offer beer, wine, mixed drinks, sandwiches and, of course, chicken wings.

They said they have applied for a liquor license from the state. That will cost them a little more than $8,000

The four went before the EDC board of directors during Monday’s meeting.

Ruiz said the chicken wings business has been exploding all over and added they want to open three other restaurants, one each in Mercedes, Kingsville and in Three Rivers.

“We plan to purchase top of the line equipment and to hire a minimum of 10 employees and eventually hire another 10.”

He said each employee will make $10 an hour.

Ruiz said they are not seeking a specific amount of money from EDC, but will welcome anything they can get.

Ramirez said he is a 27- year veteran of the restaurant industry.

“If we do it the right way,” he said, “we believe it is going to work just fine.”

EDC members and the city will review the proposal to determine what kind of financial assistance they can provide to the sports bar.

According to the business plan presented to the EDC board, Wing Champs expects to gross more than $1 million and make a net profit of $250,000 in the first year of operation.

They are basing their projections on a study of the local restaurant industry.

City Manager Eleazar Garcia, also an EDC board member, said he is impressed with the business plan.

“The EDC main focus is jobs creation,” he said. “This is a well thought out project.”

Garcia said that any financial assistance EDC provides has to have a performance agreement based on jobs and a collateral clause.

He told the investors they could seek funds from the revolving loan program through Reyna & Associates, a company they hired to run the program.

Ruiz said the plan is to have the sports bar open before the next football season.

If it goes through, the sports bar will become the second business taking advantage of an initiative city voters approved last year.

By a 433-to-115 votes, a liquor election passed by nearly 70 percent of the votes cast last November, meaning any one who is over legal age will be able to buy liquor if available within city limits

Casa Royale, a liquor store that opened in February of this year, is the first such business that sells beer, wine and liquor.

Eziquiel Cavazos, an EDC board member, said having a sports bar in town is long overdue.

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