Small Biz Story | Mamacitas Cafe

Small Biz Story | Mamacitas Cafe

Borrower story, CNote, small business
A Different Startup, With a Quirky Mission Mamacitas Cafe, a specialty coffee and baked goods retailer in Oakland, is different. A lot of other coffee shops may say the same. Be it their brewing methods, the coarseness of their grind, or the music heard playing in the background, this cafe is on a mission to elevate women of color.  This coffee shop offers it's employees professional training, community building, and the ability to directly take part in day-to-day business tinkering and planning. Impact First. Profit Second. As with any coffee shop, Mamacitas Cafe was not immune to the challenges of a newly formed business. From payroll, equipment purchases, and construction to the unexpected removal from a commercial space it took serious commitment and foresight to stick to their guns and…
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Small Biz Story | Z011 Coffee Roasters in San Francisco

Small Biz Story | Z011 Coffee Roasters in San Francisco

Borrower story, CNote, small business
A whole new coffee experience For San Franciscans, coffee drinking has become a ritual and an experience to be savored. And discovering coffee shops offering new flavors, aromas, and brewing methods has become a popular pastime in the city. In 2015, Belen and her husband decided to offer a completely unique coffee drinking experience to the San Francisco coffee-loving community. Combining their passions for baking and coffee, they opened Zo11 Coffee Roasters on Fillmore St. While starting the business meant a major step into the unknown, Belen believed that because they were doing what they loved they would be able them to face and overcome any challenge together. And they did exactly that. A founder driven by passion "Follow your passion" became Belen's compass to navigate. And for Belen this meant…
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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 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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