100%

funded

Total loan: $15,000

Brandon

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Rochester, NY, United States / Retail

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A loan helped a stay-at-home dad achieve independence and security through his ecologically-conscientious dream business.


Brandon's story

Like a lot of people in the hospitality industry, I lost my job during the pandemic and was no longer able to host my monthly pop-ups anymore. My wife was in the midst of her exams for her PhD program, so I took on the responsibility of staying at home with my 9-year-old daughter for a year and a half of remote learning. Although this was a difficult time, I still cherish the opportunity to help my daughter learn and grow every day despite the obstacles that lay ahead of us. My natural wine business journey began well before I was left unemployed by the pandemic. I am a lifelong food and wine industry worker with a passion for natural wine, organic farming, cultural humility, and hospitality. I began doing natural wine and food pairing pop-ups three years ago because I felt strongly about following my true passion for connecting people and their stories through natural wine, food, and music. All the proceeds from my pop-ups went to my employer; I wasn't making any money for myself despite the hard work that went into making them happen. I wasn’t doing it for the money, I did it because I loved doing it and because it made me happy. During my period of unemployment, I realized that there would come a time that—when the pandemic was safely behind us—I would need to return to work to help support my family. What was waiting at the end of that tunnel for me? Where did I see myself and how would I fit into the post-pandemic landscape? That’s when I decided that it was time for me to be in the driver's seat. It was time for me to control my own destiny when it came to job security and financial stability. I decided to take the risk of starting my own business, which has always been a lifelong dream of mine, by forming an LLC and opening my own eco-conscious natural wine bottle shop. No one can dictate my path for me anymore. I will take charge and follow this dream, not only for my own wellbeing but for the livelihood of my family. Opening this natural wine bottle shop is a lifelong dream come true. The support from our community has been overwhelmingly positive and I want to share natural wine with Rochester in the form of a welcoming, all-inclusive retail bottle shop where lovers of natural wine and people new to natural wine can find wines that they love and learn a little about them, too. Pass the carafe!!!