100%

funded

Total loan: $5,000

Charleen

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Richmond, VA, United States / Food

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A loan helped acquire the items needed to create the space inside the Nutty Buttery, improve the facade, and provide all the supplies and small equipment required to operate the cafe.


Charleen's story

I am a respiratory therapist of 30 plus years, almost half of the time employed at Bon Secours, Memorial Regional and Richmond Community Hospitals. As a department manager, I was afforded the opportunity to work with the Mission department in its community outreach ministry on such projects as the "East-End Initiative" and Habitat for Humanity. I have been working on "Nutty Buttery" - ice cream parlor, pantry and café for some time. The idea began when I realized what a legacy my grandfather and great-aunt left in the way of Lightfoot's Bakery and Al's Beauty School and Salon and a café, all located in Ashland, VA, where I grew up. They were entrepreneurs against all odds; their places of business were "community magnets" and they were respected by everyone, regardless of race or color. The entrepreneur and community involvement seed had been planted! It was nourished by my father's extraordinary community service, also in Ashland and Hanover. I began planning Nutty Buttery a few years ago while still working full-time; I encountered many obstacles along the way. Having to leave Bon Secours after 16 years due to illness (I was diagnosed with cancer) was a blessing in disguise. My recovery gave me more time to devote to, what by then, was "my dream"; Nutty Buttery! I was accepted into the RVA Works Entrepreneur Institute Program “Startup Works with WIBO” but had to delay my start date due to my treatment and recovery. It was a great experience and provided me with resources that propelled me towards my goal of opening Nutty Buttery. The RVA Works team including volunteers, mentors, business experts, class members, graduates and many others provide a culture of positivity and encouragement and a network that is like good friends and family. A little over 10 years ago I moved into my new home in the Carver neighborhood in Richmond and immediately became involved in all things "community". I joined CACIL, the community association, and have held the office of President, Vice-President, "chair-person", member and advocate, wherever I was needed. I absolutely love community service and I am on several community-related committees and teams throughout Richmond and Ashland; including the Richmond Folk Festival, Celebrate Jackson Ward Festival - sponsored by the Richmond Symphony and the Black History Museum and the Willing Workers of Shiloh Baptist Church, Ashland. I am currently on short-term disability and I am anxious to get back to work. Unfortunately, having to leave Bon Secours earlier than expected, I do not the same income and also needed to use some of my retirement money to keep up with the bills. However; I will not be daunted. I am anxious for the opportunity to blend my years of experience in managing people and departments, my community spirit, and love of bringing people together, by creating a community-oriented space known as Nutty Buttery; which, as luck would have it, is in my own neighborhood and is endorsed by my own community friends.