A loan of $8,500 helped to hire two additional employees to help fulfill a new contract for her gourmet food service.


Shonali's story

Just over a year ago, the Kiva community lent $5,000 to Shonali enabling her to jump-start her gourmet food service, "Splendishes by Shonali". She required FDA approval, food labels, commercial kitchen space and ingredients and needed to hire her first two employees. These employees assisted with food preparation and allowed her to perform product demos to wholesalers.

Shonali has since produced a variety of award-winning items, most notably her horseradish mustard and red enchilada sauces, which won first and second places respectively at the Sonoma County Fair. Recently she has expanded into new product lines, such as kale chips, gourmet nuts and sweets. When asked how Kiva has impacted her business so far, she shared, “Growth is my biggest challenge, and it is frustrating to see huge businesses only get larger when small hardworking individuals are struggling to enter the market. … Kiva has helped me do that.”

Furthermore, Splendishes’ reputation continues to grow in the community. Shonali recently garnered the attention of nearby Palomar Airport. Impressed by her cooking, a local pilot helped her secure catering contracts to private aircrafts. Although catering for flights is a lucrative opportunity for her, being on call from six in the morning until ten in the evening can be quite a challenge. She shared, “I have to be able to cater at a moment’s notice, so I always have to be prepared!”

Shonali is confident that her second Kiva loan will open up even more opportunities for Splendishes to expand. She will use the funds to hire two additional employees to enable her business to meet increasing demand as well as have a presence at multiple farmers’ markets simultaneously.

If all goes according to plan, Shonali hopes to ultimately have a commercial kitchen of her own instead of having to share a space with other companies. As for potential items available for sale in the future, Shonali says that she is open to making anything that delights her customers. “I’m always on the prowl to find something more delicious than what I made last!”


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