Julio has been working in a kitchen for as long as he can remember. The son of a tailor, Julio parted from his father’s path at an early age, and instead found jobs working in restaurants around his hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina. After earning his culinary degree, Julio traveled throughout South America and Europe, sampling and cooking the local cuisines he encountered. However, it was with the empanada, an Argentine turnover filled with meat or vegetables, where Julio has found his true culinary calling.
Having made his home in San Francisco, Julio founded his business, El Empanadero, three years ago. He delivers these tasty pastries to offices, hospitals, cafes and bars around the Bay Area. With over fourteen flavors of empanadas to offer, (even a vegan one!) Julio believes that the empanada is a novel snack that can satisfy just about anyone's taste buds. “Everybody has to eat; why not an empanada?” he jokes.
Julio’s business is taking off and now he has outgrown the capacity of his own kitchen at home. Having secured his new warehouse site, Julio now needs financing to transform the space into a fully functional kitchen. Lacking a business credit history and references, Julio was not able to turn to a traditional bank.
Another local entrepreneur, aware of El Empanadero’s potential for growth, referred Julio to Opportunity Fund, who approved Julio for a $10,000 loan. “When I started this business it was to be independent, and I was resistant at first to the idea of a loan. But I realize this is how I can help my business grow, and to keep advancing. I’m always looking for ways to move forward,” explains Julio. “I once met a man who sold 2,000 empanadas each day – I want to be that man!”
Julio currently employs part-time help, and once remodeling is complete he is excited to bring on more full-time employees. Looking towards the future, Julio envisions himself opening empanada cafes throughout San Francisco. He believes strongly in the “power of perseverance,” and as long as people keep eating, he will keep serving!
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