1. #1
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    Post Cash-strapped fire company buys tavern to raise funds

    AVIS, Pa. (AP) - A volunteer fire company in central
    Pennsylvania has taken a novel approach to fund raising: Instead of
    bake sales and bingo games, they decided to buy a tavern.
    The Avis Fire Co. purchased the South Avis Inn last month and
    plan to expand the tavern to include a restaurant.
    "We're trying to diversify our income. It's getting harder and
    harder to raise money," said Dave Winkleman, company president.
    Income from weekly bingo games and an annual carnival has shrunk
    in recent years. Faced with dwindling funds and increasing costs,
    the fire company in Clinton County started looking for ways to
    generate income.
    The inn purchase was completed June 18. Due to regulations of
    the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, a separate organization had
    to be formed to run the inn, so the Avis Fire Co. Civic Association
    was created. The fire company bought the building and leases it to
    the civic association, which runs the tavern and rents the
    apartments in the building.
    The bylaws of the civic organization state that its sole purpose
    is to raise money for the fire company. The fire company paid
    $100,000 for the building and $80,000 for the liquor license and
    inventory.
    To buy the inn, the fire company used some money from its bingo
    fund and took out a mortgage. Rental income from the building's
    five apartments - four of which are already rented - is enough to
    make the mortgage payments, Bowers said.
    Winkleman said the dining room will be open to the public for
    lunch and dinner. Plans are to offer the dining area, which seats
    approximately 125 people, as a rental facility for wedding
    receptions, class reunions and other gatherings, Winkleman said.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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    Question Whats the APR on $180,000?

    A very different approach to the problems of raising funds. But I have just a few points.

    If the Fire Co. paid $180,000 for the premises and the inventory, how much money did they have in their funds to begin with? Mortgages on business premises are nearly always very high. Also, what if it does'nt work and no one wants to eat there? Do they then have a building that is a noose around their necks? Seems very risky to me.

    On a final and topical point, if the firefighters are utilising this facility, do they have a soundproofed box for the pagers?
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    Martin, I had to reread the original post after reading yours...it never said how much $$$ they contributed. It only said they paid $180,000 which the mortgage helped pay for.

    I hope this endeavor works out for these guys...it would be interesting to see if any other departments do anything like this if this company is successful.
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    Adze, thanks for the update. I think it's a very novel idea too and certaintly if its been tried elsewhere, not one has got to hear about it. I am just interested about the mortage, given that you normally have to outlay quite a deposit on ventures like this, in order to satisfy the bank that you can make a go of it. I was just wondering about what other, if any, avenues were explored before buying a bar/restaurant.

    Anyone out there know any more, as this is a very unsusal and bold step I think?

    (No critiscsim intended with my last comment on post1, just someone somewhere will be think, "firefighters & beer, hmm").

    Best of luck with it guys.
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    I'm waiting to see how long it is going to be before someone blasts the firefighters for associating themselves with alcohol.
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    Default Ok Ill bite

    Originally posted by Adze39
    I'm waiting to see how long it is going to be before someone blasts the firefighters for associating themselves with alcohol.
    What are they going to say when they answer the phone---"Thank you for calling the tavern of Callier,Beaton and Kinnetz how may we get you *@$@@&^up?"

    Fuuny thing though I have never seen a headline here saying "Boston fire Captain busted for drinking and responding" or "FDNY Lt. causes 7 car pile up and crashes fire truck--3 dead" or "Marlbourogh Captain arrested for showing up on scene half in the bag"---get my drift.

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    Now now, young one...there was never any mention that they were going to be responding after drinking...or that they would even be drinking. They only bought a tavern to raise money.
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    Default Re: Ok Ill bite

    Originally posted by dfdex1
    Fuuny thing though I have never seen a headline here saying "Boston fire Captain busted for drinking and responding" or "FDNY Lt. causes 7 car pile up and crashes fire truck--3 dead" or "Marlbourogh Captain arrested for showing up on scene half in the bag"---get my drift.
    That's cuz they don't drive the rigs!!! LOL JUST KIDDING!
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    get my drift
    Would that be why Chicago FF's subject to random testing

    My best wishes they all come back negative.

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    Default Re: Ok Ill bite

    Originally posted by dfdex1

    What are they going to say when they answer the phone---"Thank you for calling the tavern of Callier,Beaton and Kinnetz how may we get you *@$@@&^up?"

    Fuuny thing though I have never seen a headline here saying "Boston fire Captain busted for drinking and responding" or "FDNY Lt. causes 7 car pile up and crashes fire truck--3 dead" or "Marlbourogh Captain arrested for showing up on scene half in the bag"---get my drift.

    Jesse, pull your head a little to the north, it's become lost down south. Maybe there hasn't been cases of being drunk while responding, however, I've read a few articles in the last little while about guys getting busted for selling illicit drugs. There is good and bad in every walk of life. You need to stop getting stuck on certain things and move on.
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    ... yet another example of the state of shambles that the fire service in Pennsylvania is in. The municipalities don't care, the people don't care (until it's their house). Nothing is funded properly (I know, who in the fire service anywhere is?). The vast majority of volunteer departments in Pennsylvania are forced to have a chicken BBQ/Ham dinner/Bingo EVERY SINGLE WEEK just to put fuel in the rigs ... and I'm not exaggerating.

    But, the state hasn't burnt down yet, so no one cares.

    I applaud the Avis fire company for thinking outside the box and doing something in an attempt to make things a little better. I wish them all the best.

    Wouldn't you think the PA state legislators would think it a bit ridiculous that a fire department must go to these lengths just to simply stay in existence?

    Stay Safe

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    I acuteally am happy that they have thought outside the box too but wouldnt a pizza parlor be alittle better? But like PA says its sad they had to go that far.
    But if someone from the dept. is picked up for drinking or dies driveing drunk to a call---no tears here.

    Wouldn't you think the PA state legislators would think it a bit ridiculous that a fire department must go to these lengths just to simply stay in existence?
    Probally not till the capital burns down.
    Last edited by dfdex1; 07-07-2003 at 03:36 PM.

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    Originally posted by dfdex1
    Probally not till the capital burns down.
    ... tried that already ...
    History of the Pennsylvania State Capitol
    The main building of the original Capitol was destroyed by fire on February 2, 1897.
    Any more suggestions?

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    I'm waiting to see what those cash strapped fire departments in Nevada are going to do, if you know what I mean!
    I don't suppose a grocery or clothing store was for sale at the time the bar/restaurant was.
    You know....they could move everything to the fire station and cut down on overhead!
    Naw; I'm going to leave this one alone.
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    I'm waiting to see what those cash strapped fire departments in Nevada are going to do, if you know what I mean!

    Visions of a particular scene from Backdraft flash into my mind...

    ===============
    On a more serious note, what is Pennsy's problem? I know it's common in many areas, but you sure doesn't seem like many of those departments get any meaningful tax support. You're not hearing of this type of stuff in NY/NJ, nor New England. Yep, there's some pretty poor fire companies especially in Northern New England and rural New York State. And even my fire company conducts four major fundraisers a year (BBQ, Car Parking & Bingo at the Fair, and a Golf Tourney) -- but largely that's to augment decent public funding. For instance, it let's upgrade from Metro helmets the town budgets to New Yorkers, or more meaningfully it let's us by one grade better equipment -- maybe that four cycle pump for the hurst tool instead of a two cycle.

    But taxes need to help!

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    A very novel solutino to a continuing problem. As I read into this one, the FD ownes the building and the business, but the Avis Fire Co. Civic Association actually runs it. I don't know anything about the politics down PA way, but up around here we looked into something that in the end would have amounted to the same as what has been done in Avis, except we weren't looking to buy a business. Actually we were looking for grant money, and one of the only ways that we were going to get the "big money" was to form an Association, that was separate and outside the FD.

    We are still working on the association thing, but it would seem to me that Avis FD has licked that problem and potentially licked their budgetary problems too, which is better than some of us can boast of.

    On the part of the Bank and mortgage etc, I agree its a risky venture, but if they can make a "go" of it, well the all the power to them.... GOOD LUCK AVIS!!!!!!!!
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    Post An Update....

    The inn purchase was completed June 18. Due to regulations of
    the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, a separate organization had
    to be formed to run the inn, so the Avis Fire Co. Civic Association
    was created. The fire company bought the building and leases it to
    the civic association, which runs the tavern and rents the
    apartments in the building.
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    On a more serious note, what is Pennsy's problem? I know it's common in many areas, but you sure doesn't seem like many of those departments get any meaningful tax support.
    I'll give everyone a little run-down of the Pennsylvania setup ... Pennsylvania is a Commonwealth. Back in 1787, the idea of a Commonwealth, where power is pushed down to the lowest level of government possible, sounded great (Power to the People!). There are, at a minimum, 900 fire departments in Pennsylvania (and these are only the ones listed on the Pennsylvania Fire & Emergency Services Institute's website as having their own website). In actuality, there could be twice as many. This means over 900 different chiefs ... over 900 different organizations all doing their own thing ... over 900 different organizations trying to get a piece of the pie. Now, you're saying, "So what, take all of them, get rid of the ones you don't need, and consolidate." This is where the whole Commonwealth thing comes in. Since power is pushed down to the local level, every single township, borough, village, and city, has the option of having their own fire protection. And in an effort to keep up w/ the Jones', they all do, and no one outside of their municipality (however small it might be) can tell them how to run their little show. As a result, you have power hungry people who refuse to give up their power, and around and around we go. This is where the state legislature needs to come in, and say enough is enough, hire a State Fire Administrator who would appoint County Fire Administrators, who would then run County fire departments. This would save literally millions of dollars, and everyone would be much better off.

    Now you say, "Ok, that sucks, but how does this affect funding?" Since each municipality gets to have their own fire department, then each municipality is also responsible for funding their fire department. The Village of West Bumduck with a population of 500 could care less about funding their fire department. The town hasn't burnt down yet, so they don't care. Even when there is house fire that turns into swimming pool, they all cry and moan together and sing the praises of the volunteers who did the best that they could. Everyone then goes to the chicken BBQ that weekend because the volunteers did such a wonderful job of filling up Mr. and Mrs. Doe's new swimming pool (which is also full of roof shingles and charred rafters) ... but three weeks later, the FD is left wondering if they'll be able to put diesel fuel in their 1968 open-cab engine.
    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    And even my fire company conducts four major fundraisers a year (BBQ, Car Parking & Bingo at the Fair, and a Golf Tourney) -- but largely that's to augment decent public funding.
    That is great that you guys are able to get the public support so that you can concentrate on training, etc. and only have to run four major fundraisers a year. My department is fortunate also. However, most departments in Pennsylvania are not. A department 10 miles away from here scrapped their carnival this year because in 2002, their three week carnival, which included literally thousands of volunteer man-hours, netted them exactly $47.52. The chicken BBQ's, pancake breakfasts, pork and saurkraut dinners, and Bingo will continue to be put on by volunteers, every single week, so these volunteers can then go out and keep the town from burning down.

    Stay Safe

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    I must agree with PA........it is a shame that things even had to get this way for any department........
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    Count me among those who think its a crying shame when ANY firefighter has to worry more about raising cash to keep a department operating then running emergency calls.

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    This sounds like a very interesting business project. If run properly it could really help the FD (I say "if" because we all know that this could very well turn out to be another political power struggle, especially if it is a committee looking after business operations).

    Anyhow, there could be additional funds raised as a spin off. Lets say they open it up a "Fire Service" based Planet Hollywood, (I’ll let everyone else come up with a good name).

    T-shirt, hat and patch sales have the potential to become profitable.

    Not to mention events, like a County Chili Cook-off, where every department in the county gets to enter their ‘special’ chili, with the winner getting the "5 Alarm" trophy. I am sure there are dozens, if not hundreds, of ideas that they could use to bring people in. (I know I would make the drive for a Fire Department Chili Cook-off) And that is what it would all be about, getting people in. Once they are in business will improve. Once business improves, so with the operational capability of the FD.
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    Well said PAVol I have been enlightened
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