Borrower Story: Prospect Cleaning Service in NYC

Borrower Story: Prospect Cleaning Service in NYC

Borrower story, CDFIs, CNote
A small business will need help. Be it financial planning or access to skilled labor, a small business’ ability to leverage this help is critical to maintain the integrity of their business and scale effectively. We spent time with Prospect Cleaning Service to learn more about their experience with Excelsior Growth Fund, one of CNote’s CDFI partners. When faced with unfamiliar business challenges and exciting opportunities, access to a team of knowledgeable advisors ready to lend a hand is an invaluable resource. Ingrid Murray, owner of Prospect Cleaning Service, Inc., has learned this lesson time and again.   Prospect Cleaning Service provides commercial cleaning services in the metro-New York region. In 2011, when she acquired the business from her husband she already had excellent experience as its bookkeeper and office…
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Borrower Story: MAFIA Bags, a small business with big ideas about sustainable design

Borrower Story: MAFIA Bags, a small business with big ideas about sustainable design

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MAFIA Bags is more than just a series of stylish, functional, and sturdy bags, totes, backpacks and accessories. It is a company which represents community and cohesiveness around two inspirational goals. To give new life to materials and to transform the way we do business. Started in 2012 by brother and sister Marcos and Paz Mafia, MAFIA Bags began with an idea to upcycle used sails into backpacks. Their idea originated from the need for a durable backpack to carry their wetsuits while traveling to surfing locations around the world. And since day one, as they have perfected the design, MAFIA Bags has also fostered the tradition of community by bringing on friends and employing locally to scale the business. Even as the business has expanded from their hometown in…
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Borrower Story: Roberto’s Winds & Michiko Studios in NYC

Borrower Story: Roberto’s Winds & Michiko Studios in NYC

Borrower story, CDFIs, CNote
While New York City is overflowing with artists and creatives, one thing the city is always short on is space for musicians, especially rehearsal spaces that are both affordable and acoustically sound. That’s where Roberto Romeo saw a tremendous opportunity to expand his small business and support the community of local musicians. As the owner of Roberto’s Winds for more than a decade, Roberto had established a reputation as the premier retailer of woodwinds in New York City. With a showroom and shop known internationally, musicians travel from abroad to purchase instruments and accessories, view his high-end saxophone collection and hear stories from Roberto’s 35 years in the business. Getting the funding and guidance to grow Roberto not only built a successful business, but brought together a large community of…
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Redesigning Finance in Detroit

Redesigning Finance in Detroit

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An hour before my hotel alarm goes off, I’m thrown awake by a chorus of hammers, trucks and drills from the construction outside. Where am I? Right, Detroit. The city of a legendary decline and an even more legendary revival. I've heard enough "dark" stories to shape my groggy and not so pleasant image of this city - but it's an image that will be shattered in just a few days. About a month ago, CNote was invited to participate in the FinTech program sponsored by Village Capital and Paypal. The program focuses on supporting entrepreneurs creating innovative financial solutions for underserved communities and small businesses. It is in a perfect alignment with CNote and I was  excited for the opportunity to learn from other companies sharing a common mission…
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Borrower Story: Meet Fany Gerson with La Newyorkina

Borrower Story: Meet Fany Gerson with La Newyorkina

Borrower story, CDFIs
[caption id="attachment_2597" align="alignleft" width="300"] Fany at her shop "La Newyorkina"[/caption] La Newyorkina is a fan favorite in New York City. Found at kiosks, carts, and coffee shops in the East Village and a retail store out of Brooklyn, its authentic, tasty frozen treats and sweets from Mexico are a special treat in the heat of NYC summer. After making tens of thousands of satisfied customers happy, La Newyorkina was ready to bring their goodies to even more people and expand into other parts of the city. And then Hurricane Sandy happened. The expansion was stalled indefinitely. Fany Gerson, the founder of La Newyorkina, did not give up. She continued with her plans for growth and was even preparing to ramp up the business for the next season. But she needed…
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