ST MARYS — Midwest Electric recently provided a small business loan to a new upper casual restaurant in downtown Celina called The James Watson House. The low-interest loan was provided through the co-op’s Revolving Loan Fund, which aims to support local businesses and empower the community by creating and retaining jobs in west-central Ohio.
Developers Phil Moeller and Michael Hoying purchased the historic building at 202 S. Main Street in Celina and have teamed up with restaurant managers Chris and Cassie Campbell to run the business. The new restaurant, opening by early 2023, will create 20 new full-time jobs.
The Campbells have a professional history in restaurant management and currently operate The Merchant House in Greenville, where they live with their two dogs, four horses, and a handful of chickens on their mini-farm. They also have four children (Avery – 14, Coleson – 9, Camryn – 8, and Cash – 2).
“I don’t think that Chris or I ever planned on the restaurant or hospitality industry to be our life when we each started as bus boys and dishwashers 20-plus years ago,” Cassie said. “But both of us found an industry that plays to our love of food and people, and since we are both strong leaders, it was a natural path to work our way up. When he and I met 12 years ago, we realized that we had the same vision of successful teams and community involvement being key to the success of restaurants. Being able to move away from corporate restaurants and have our own allows us to do just that.”
The restaurant is named after James Watson Riley, who founded the city of Celina in 1834.
Guests can expect delicious, historic New-American style foods when the restaurant opens later this year. Cassie describes the menu as “contemporary twists on culinary classics.” The James Watson House will serve fresh seafood, steaks, chops, smoked meats, and a fresh “small plates” menu. They will also have 20-24 beer taps and a large outdoor patio.
Creating new jobs and sustaining the community has always been a cornerstone of the Campbells’ model.
“Providing a great place to work with a strong culture of mutual respect is very important,” Cassie said. “Having an environment in which our team members can thrive will ultimately trickle down to our guest’s satisfaction. Happy team members mean happy guests, which is always a recipe for success.”
The owners are proud to be involved in the community.
“We feel blessed to be able to come to Celina and be a part of the tremendous revitalization happening in the area. There is a strong culture of hospitality with the many places to drink and dine here, and we cannot wait to be a part of that. We are grateful to Midwest Electric for their part in helping this happen through the Revolving Loan Fund.”
To learn more about The James Watson House, visit their website at www.thejameswatsonhouse.com or email [email protected] Updates are posted on their Facebook and Instagram pages. The restaurant will be located at 202 South Main Street, Celina. They hope to open by early 2023.
What’s the Revolving Loan Fund?
Midwest Electric’s Revolving Loan Fund features a competitive interest rate for job creation projects in rural west central Ohio. Minimum loan is $5,000; the maximum depends on the amount of available funds at the time of the request. The project must have a minimum of 10% equity infusion. Other requirements apply. Call 800-962-3830 for more information or a free pre-application.
“The main purpose of the Midwest Electric Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) is to create or retain jobs in west-central Ohio, which is essential for the community well-being,” said Joel Johns, Business Development Coordinator for Midwest Electric. “Any local business within the seven-county area that we serve is eligible to apply for a low-interest loan for fixed asset financing.”