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BRINGING IN THE DOUGH: Cape Coral pizza place gets $50,000 from the city

Aimed at helping in revitalization efforts
BRINGING IN THE DOUGH: Cape Coral pizza place gets $50,000 from the city
Posted at 11:03 PM, May 22, 2024

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — A Cape Coral restaurant just got a $50,000 check from the city to help spark economic growth.

"We knew coming into this property it was going to take a lot of work,” said Barry Goettemoeller, a Co-Owner of East of Chicago Pizza.

Work that is now paying off for this new restaurant in downtown Cape Coral.

It happened with the help of a new city grant program called Breaking Barriers to Business and East of Chicago Pizza is its first recipient.

"We look for ways to make things better to remove slum and blight, which is the objective of the CRA and this is a shining example,” said Bill Steinke, Council member for District 1.

The grant started in May of 2023 and gives money to businesses that meet its long list of requirements to revitalize the area, both economically and structurally, by taking an unused existing building and bringing it back to life.

"If anybody had been down here on Ninth Place before they'd seen that this building was tired,” said Steinke.

"You know, certainly the hurricane didn't do it any justice, any good, so to see it turned from what it was to what it is today, you know, a really neat place to come into a really neat place to look at from the street."

It's not just about looks, It also has to be up to code so that when another hurricane does come through it has a chance of standing through the storm.

According to the co-owners Barry Goettemoeller and Ted Horstman, they not only met but surpassed these requirements.

"This building was so rundown that we had the electrical wasn't to code; the plumbing wasn't to code; the entrance wasn't to code,” said Horstman. "Nothing here was to code and it became a pretty lengthy process of trying to get everything up."

Like most projects, it didn't come without its challenges.

"Of course there are surprises and hiccups along the way but I understand that as a real estate broker myself in the process, so the list that they mentioned today is long and we had no idea this was going to be happening to us,” said Goettemoeller.

Now the co-owners tell me they can use this money to offset the 500 free pizzas they gave away to the community with their grand opening, and pay some bills to help get rid of the financial burden that comes with being a new business owner.

For more information on the grant program, click here.