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The Loading Bar gets a boost in opening in Edwardsville

This spring’s opening of The Loading Bar in Edwardsville was a big one for owner Ryan Wilson, who got a little help from some friends.

The Illinois Small Business Development Center for the Metro East at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville supported the efforts of Wilson, who used his education and experience and practiced patience and resilience to make his business concept a reality.

Wilson earned a bachelor’s in business administration, entrepreneurship specialization, in 2012 and a Master’s of Business Administration in 2014, both from the SIUE School of Business. When it came time to develop his business, Scott Credit Union advised him to seek support from the SBDC to update his business plan and set reasonable expectations.

“Marti and Jo Ann with the SBDC asked some of the tough questions that I needed to consider, as they were the exact questions that banks later asked,” Wilson said.

The Loading Bar is called an upscale, beer-focused bar that includes gaming systems, movies and pop culture.

Wilson underscores his commitment to supporting local businesses and improving the Metro East, even offering job opportunities on the spot to expand his team.

“Ryan is a force of nature,” said SBDC Business Specialist Marti Wieland. “He has great ideas and definite plans. Talking through issues such as location, staffing, and day-to-day operations were the perfect pieces of the puzzle to fit in with his ideas. Inspiration combined with hard work is essential to success. Ryan has both in his business toolbox. It is a pleasure working with him.”

The Loading Bar is located at 6185 Bennett Drive Suite C in the Trace on the Parkway development in Edwardsville. For more information, visit or contact Wilson at or (618) 210-4303.

The Illinois SBDC for the Metro East assists start-up ventures like The Loading Bar and existing businesses headquartered in the nine-county region of Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Washington Monroe, and Randolph. It is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and SIUE as a service to Illinois small businesses.         

To learn about the SBDC, contact the IL SBDC for the Metro East at SIUE at 618-650-2929. 

The Loading Bar is now open in Edwardsville.

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