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: 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. Roberto not only built a successful business, but brought together a large community of musicians that he wanted to support and…
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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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Borrower Story: Meet Maria Cruz with Heavenly Flowers

Borrower Story: Meet Maria Cruz with Heavenly Flowers

Borrower story, CDFIs, CNote
[caption id="attachment_2535" align="alignright" width="297"] Maria at her shop "Heavenly Flowers"[/caption] Meet Maria Cruz from Long Island. Her passion and area of expertise is flowers. With the cash she saved while working at her sister’s shop, she succeeded in opening her own flower shop in 2009. Her business grew and she was able to open up a second shop in 2015. Things were going well until some equipment began to fail during an uncharacteristically slow summer season. She needed more money, however, banks turned her down flat. “I couldn’t understand why no one would loan to me. I just kept running into a dead end,” says Cruz. Both shops were profitable and her credit was good, but the only loan options available to her came through the large pool of largely…
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The Good Guys of Finance. (Yes, they exist)

CDFIs, Savings
Having worked in both venture capital and financial services, I have seen some of the best and worst faces of finance. But there is one financial segment that is largely ignored and vastly under-celebrated. I call them “the good guys and girls of finance” for many reasons, but also because it’s easier than their name: CDFI.CDFIs, or Community Development Financial Institutions, were created over 20 years ago by the U.S. Treasury Department to help ensure that our country’s most underserved populations – low-income neighborhoods, women and minorities – were getting fair access to capital. Think about it this way: large banks don’t always find it easy or prudent to lend capital to certain types of small businesses, including first time entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs who need less than 100K to start…
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