Jump to Main Content
USA flagAn Official Website of the United States Government

Philadelphia District Office Success Stories

Philadelphia District Office Success Stories

 Charliene A. Magaro opened Char’s – Tracy Mansion as an American brasserie-style restaurant in 2012 in Harrisburg, Penn.’s historic Tracy Mansion.

Charliene A. Magaro, Eastern Pa. 2014 Woman-Owned Small Business Of Year, opens environment-conscious restaurant with SBA 7(a), Express and 504 loans

HARRISBURG, PA – Charliene A. Magaro opened Char’s – Tracy Mansion as an American brasserie-style restaurant in 2012 in Harrisburg, Penn.’s historic Tracy Mansion, built in 1913 with help from SBA’s lending programs. Magaro's commitment to environmental initiatives were incorporated from the start into the new restaurant, which functions on 100% wind power for electricity, and a geo-thermal system was installed for gas heat.

Char’s – Tracy Mansion received an SBA 504 loan through Pennsylvania Community Development & Finance Corp, a non-profit Certified Development Company authorized by the US Small Business Administration to provide SBA financing for small businesses as well as SBA-backed 7(a) and Express loans from MileStone Bank.

"After meeting Char in December 2010 I knew the SBA 504 loan program would be the perfect financing tool to assist in fulfilling her dream of opening a restaurant at Tracy Mansion. Char’s passion and perseverance assisted her in overcoming project financing challenges, weather disasters and a national recession; she epitomizes the image of the Small Business Champion. She further exemplifies this with her unending support of the local community and dedication to our environment. Congratulations Charliene," said Marie Shires, Vice Pres., the Pennsylvania Community Development and Finance Corp. Shires co-nominated Magaro for SBA’s 2014 Eastern Penn. Woman-Owned Small Business award with Michele Light, Senior Vice Pres., MileStone Bank.

Having weathered two floods and the economic downturn, less than 13 months after closing her previous successful restaurant, Magaro opened the doors to Char’s – Tracy Mansion as the only restaurant in Harrisburg situated on the Susquehanna River, with a menu serving everything from formal meals for special occasions to casual light-bite fare.

“A true entrepreneur is measured not only by the profitability of its company; they are measured by the wellbeing of their employees, and their commitment to the social and environmental health of the surrounding community,” Magaro said. “After several years of unfruitful pursuits for financing from local banks, Marie Shires of the Pennsylvania Community Development & Finance Corporation surfaced. She was enthusiastic, engaged and determined to see my project manifest. Her dedication drew the interest of Michele Light and Jared Utz of MileStone Bank. These professionals saw something beyond the ‘numbers’ that no other bank or chamber of commerce recognized: the person. Like the old-fashioned way of banking – they invested in the individual. And for that, I am most grateful.”

 “Meeting Char and watching her vision unfold into a reality at the Tracy Mansion, represents what small business America is all about – smart people with outstanding potential, coupled with the persistence to succeed. At MileStone Bank, it’s business owners like Char Magaro that make us love what we do by helping small business owners seize their dreams while continuing our free enterprise system through products, services and employment. We are honored to have played a role in helping Char achieve her dream, and we congratulate her on this well-deserved accomplishment,” Light said.

SBA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, Natalia Olson-Urtecho, and Philadelphia District Director, David Dickson, presented the 2014 Small Business Week awards with Philadelphia’s NBC10 anchor and consumer reporter Tracy Davidson at the annual “SBA Day at the Ballpark” event June 12. The awards ceremony and luncheon at the “XFINITY Live! Philadelphia” restaurant was followed by a Phillies baseball game at nearby Citizens Bank Park.

“Women-owned small businesses have achieved a lot in recent years and this is a great opportunity to honor the accomplishment of Char and her team at Char’s – Tracy Mansion,” Dickson said. “Women-owned businesses like Char’s here in Harrisburg are at the very heart of the American economy. That’s why SBA provides resources to help women business owners to succeed – from registering a business to hiring your first employee, we’re here to help woman-owned small businesses start and grow.”

SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year award winner is selected annually from among nominees located across Pennsylvania’s eastern 40 counties. These events are local observances of the annual Presidentially-designated National Small Business Week. National Small Business Week recognizes the small business community’s contribution to the American economy.