Soo and her husband started their dry cleaning business 12 years ago in Queens, New York. After moving to the United States in the early '70s, Soo knew that, with her experience in the dry cleaning business, she would one day open up her own storefront. With the help of their two children, their dry cleaning business became a staple in their community.
With the economic recession, Soo’s business suffered from increased prices. With increases in oil, supplies and energy resources, Soo was forced to increase prices in her store. However, with strategic cutbacks and determination, her business was able to keep its doors open.
Today, Soo has her third loan with ACCION USA. This loan will allow her to buy a new dry cleaning machine. Without this machine, Soo was forced to send many of her clients to a different dry cleaning business. This loan will allow her to retain more of the clients that come into her store and offer more specialized services.
Soo and her husband dream of eventually opening a dry cleaning business in Manhattan. With the confidence of having weathered the worst of the economic crisis, Soo is optimistic about their business’s future. Soo says her greatest success with owning her own business has been sending her eldest son to a university in New York.
About U.S. Microfinance and ACCION USA
Have you ever thought about how the cute new café on your corner or the salon you frequent every month got the financial resources to start their business? Chances are, they drummed up support from their friends and family, dipped into their personal savings, used a high-interest credit card, or all of the above. An estimated ten million small businesses in the U.S. face difficulty obtaining loans from traditional banks, even prior to the current “credit crisis”. Microfinance institutions, like ACCION USA, support these “unbanked” small businesses by giving them access to fairly-priced capital and business education.
Small businesses also help stabilize low- to moderate-income neighborhoods and rebuild the economy through income growth and job creation. Self-employment provides workers with a way to increase their incomes, support their families, and strengthen their communities. As unemployment rises in the U.S., more and more people are turning to self-employment and start-up enterprises as a way to take control of their economic futures and provide employment opportunities in their communities. The need for support of small businesses in the U.S. is great, and it is one that ACCION USA has been striving to meet since 1991.