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North Central Massachusetts Development Corp. approves financing to 873 Cafe Tavern

Funding to support creation of six job opportunities in Ashby

Left to right: Brendan Hannen, Micro-Loan Manager at the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation; Sean Smith, Owner of 873 Café Tavern; and Sandie Cataldo, Economic Development Manager at the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation. (Photo courtesy North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce)
Left to right: Brendan Hannen, Micro-Loan Manager at the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation; Sean Smith, Owner of 873 Café Tavern; and Sandie Cataldo, Economic Development Manager at the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation. (Photo courtesy North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce)
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ASHBY — Sean Smith, the owner of 873 Cafe Tavern, was recently approved for a $75,000 loan from the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce to cover the restaurant’s startup costs, provide working capital and create six job opportunities in the community.

The loan came from the chamber’s economic development arm, the North Central Massachusetts Development Corp. The proposal was referred to them from NewVue communities, a Fitchburg-based nonprofit that helps support the development of small businesses.

The previous owners closed the restaurant in May 2020 due to financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic. Smith purchased the business and comes with an experienced background in the culinary industry. He previously worked as the executive chef and culinary director at The Fay Club in Fitchburg, and at Great Road Kitchen and Oyster Bar in Littleton.

He is optimistic about what reopening the restaurant will mean for the town of Ashby.

“The 873 Cafe Tavern was a successful restaurant and a local destination for years,” Smith said. “With the financial assistance and support from the North Central Massachusetts Development Corp., I was able to fulfill a dream to open my own business and bring new life to the restaurant.”

The 873 Cafe Tavern features a lounge, restaurant with fireplace, cafe, patio for outside seating and an ice cream bar. Open since late summer, the 873 Cafe Tavern features a specialized menu of shared plates and comfort foods, all using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

As a microloan lender, NCMDC can provide loans to small businesses up to $250,000 for working capital, real estate, equipment, inventory, expansion and work with its banking partners to provide gap financing for the final piece of a project.

For more information about the NCMDC loan programs, call 978-353-7607 or visit NorthCentralMass.com or ChooseNorthCentral.com.