Total loan: $3,500


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Robbins, IL, United States / Food

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A loan helped purchase equipment, supplies, payroll, advertising, and also helps to gain working capital for my business.

Juanita's story

I was born and raised in Chicago with one brother and one sister. After I graduated high school, I spent many years working in restaurants owned by my mother or uncle. Over the years, I worked in every aspect of the business, literally from cook to bottle washer. While the restaurants were moderately successful, they couldn’t support our family, so my mother sold the business and went to work in the public school system as an aide. I followed her into the schools and I have been working for the Chicago Public Schools and then the Perspectives Charter Schools for the last twenty years as a teachers aide and as a special education classroom assistant. Since I love to cook and have always enjoyed improving my offerings and menus, I have supplemented my income for the last five years by becoming a food vendor at the Robbins Open Air Flea Market. Many patrons of the Market came to enjoy my food so much that they starting asking me to prepare trays of my jerk chicken, rib tips, and sides for their parties and home celebrations. When the staff at my school found out that I had such a business, they started hiring me to cook for school events and celebrations. That started me into the home catering portion of my business and it’s been expanding ever since. But it is very difficult to keep my business functional and viable by just working out of my kitchen and garage. The next logical step for me is to acquire a brick and mortar setting and open a carry out restaurant with professional quality stoves and grills and enough tables for waiting patrons to sit at. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to improve and expand my menu and serve the Robbins community.