Carmen R. is opening a food stand where she will sell snacks to passing motorists and pedestrians. The stand, which she already owns, is located near a major intersection adjacent to her property. Her ideal location offers great growth opportunity in her community, which has a population of 980.
Carmen has considerable experience in the service industry, having managed a grocery store she owned with her ex-husband for 19 years. After leaving the grocery store, she worked with other service-oriented businesses but says she missed owning her own business. Just like her grocery store, Carmen plans to make Chacho’s Campestre Center a family owned and operated business. She has recruited her current husband and two grown daughters to help her with Chacho’s operations.
Recent illness prevented Carmen from working and depleted the financial resources needed to launch her business. She says finding a lender was the biggest obstacle in trying to open Chacho’s Campestre Center. She was directed to ACCION and Kiva through her local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Carmen is grateful to ACCION Texas-Louisiana for recognizing her business’ potential and giving her the funds needed to get started. She says without ACCION Texas-Louisiana’s help, she doesn’t believe her business would be possible.
Down the road, Carmen would like to expand the size of her stand as well as the products it carries. Carmen believes this is an attainable goal because of her property’s size and says that when the time comes it can be done cost effectively.
Reflecting back on her time as a grocery store owner, she attributes the success she had to the personal relationships she developed with clients. When asked the secrets to success for a customer service-oriented business, Carmen lists creating a friendly, comfortable atmosphere where each customer is treated as an individual.
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.