State of the Union
HOW IT STARTED
Liberty Union Bar & Grill opened in Chester Springs, PA in 2012 when owner, Steven Schwenk, reached a cross-road in his career. He was laid off from his general manager restaurant position after 21 years in the business. He was now faced with a major life decision- seek a position with another establishment or pursue a life-long dream of opening his own restaurant. He had been laying the ground-work for years- developing a concept and organizational strategy-but was also well aware of the financial risks in this industry. Was now the time to go after his American Dream? After careful consideration, Steve decided to utilize his extensive experience and Business Degree from West Chester University to do just that.
Steve envisioned Liberty Union as an eatery offering the diversity of American flavors while representing the common elements of patriotism. The theme incorporates a collection of America’s best known iconic companies and national symbols, combined with America’s most popular dishes from selected states/cities. Liberty Union was designed to provide a warm, comfortable experience and sense of pride in what this country has to offer.
Steve borrowed from neighbors, family, and friends to finance his operation as no banks were lending money at that time without collateral. His ability to secure investors to cover the over $1 Million cost to open his restaurant speaks volumes of his character, work ethic and treatment of others.
Liberty Union was overwhelmingly busy the first few months but the honeymoon phase soon ended. After the initial lure of a new restaurant opening wore off and the summer vacation season began, Liberty Union now had time to perfect its concept. Steve was determined to see his dream through and make it a success. He worked endless hours to build his customer base and support from the community. His connections were strong as he was actively involved as a coach, parishioner, and father of three children in the school district. Liberty Union became a high- volume destination in Northern Chester County as a result. In 2017, a second location was opened outside the popular Phoenixville area in Kimberton, PA. Both restaurants were thriving as we went into 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting business shutdown orders from the state government required Liberty Union to cease all operations until such time as the orders were rescinded. Liberty Union immediately changed course to concentrate on takeout business as sales plummeted down over 85%. Even after the shut-down orders were lifted in late June, “social distancing” remains in place for the foreseeable future thus reducing the number of dine-in customers.
THE OLIVE BRANCH
Liberty Union was fortunate enough to be one of the first recipients of the PPP loan and followed guidelines to make it forgivable. This was a must to ensure that the dedicated staff remained employed. Even with the olive branch from the government, the ever changing restrictions took a toll on sales as business expenses remained the same. The struggle to survive was real but attainable through much hard work from the entire staff.
ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY
Despite the effect COVID19 has had on Liberty Union, Steve continues his ‘community driven restaurant’ mentality by giving back to others in need. Dropping off food to local hospitals and essential workers, writing checks to food pantry’s or organizing fundraisers for local organizations whose cause has taken a backseat to the pandemic. Liberty Union continues to work diligently to keep up with all CDC guidelines, state guidelines, federal loan guidelines and unemployment guidelines. All the while, Steve continues to create events and develop new menus that are actionable to keep Liberty Union relevant to capture his share of customers. Liberty Union’s social media and website (www.LibertyUnionBar.com) are constantly updated with their latest offers.
LOVE AND SUPPORT
From the very beginning, Liberty Union has sought out partnerships with local community groups, vendors and distributors who also strive to represent American values in their philosophies and practices. We now ask for your support as customers and friends to assist us during this financial crisis. We hope that, with your backing, we can continue to be a symbol of the American Dream.
On behalf of Steven Schwenk, Thank you!