Hot Dog Heaven, located at the northwest corner of Towne Lake Parkway and Main Street, has been informed by Ameris Bank that its three-year loan has been called. A called loan is one that is repayable on demand at any time.
Barney Wentzel, who co-owns Hot Dog Heaven with wife Becky Wentzel said he’s never been late on payments or missed any payments. He said he’s puzzled by the decision.
The restaurant originally obtained its loan with Bank of Woodstock, but Ameris took over the branch after its parent bank, United Security Bank of Sparta, failed in November 2009.
Wentzel said his three-year loan is locked in at 4.25 percent and has been renewed every three years for the past six years.
Wentzel said his company was facing a notice of a balloon payment and Ameris told him Hot Dog Heaven isn’t a viable business anymore.
In a letter written to the Wentzels, the bank has given them the option to renew the $258,000 loan at 5 percent interest.
The renewal stipulates the loan must be paid off in six months and is only being granted to allow the Wentzels to seek other financing or to sell the business.
Wentzel said when he renewed the loan three years ago, he asked if the bank would ever consider calling the loan.
“Why wouldn’t we renew the loan if you’re paying on time?” Wentzel said of the bank’s response. “If they can do it with me with good credit, then who’s next?”
Ameris Bank is not commenting on the situation.
Hot Dog Heaven opened in downtown Woodstock in September 2004 and specializes in serving authentic Chicago-style hot dogs.
In 2006, the owners opened the Canton Hot Dog Heaven in downtown Canton, but sold that business in 2007.
The closing would come on the heels of downtown Woodstock seeing several new businesses open, such as Ipps Pastaria & Bar, Firestone Wood Fire Pizza & Grill, Freight Kitchen & Tap and Wink Woodstock.
Mayor Donnie Henriques said he’s certain fans of Hot Dog Heaven would be disappointed if the eatery shut its doors.
“I’d hate to see them go,” he said.