A loan of $10,000 helped a member to expand their catering services and eventually open their storefront restaurant.

Big Mista's Barbecue Group's story

Bigmista’s Barbecue is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team, Neil, “Bigmista”, and Phyllis, “Mrs. Mista”. It started out as a way for Neil to raise money for barbecue competitions he started doing back in 2006. He would cook lunches that Phyllis would then deliver to places such as Kaiser, Wells Fargo and LACOE.

The idea to compete came from the great guys Neil met on the BBQ Brethren Forum. After posting, reading and finding community on the site, he decided he wanted a BBQ smoker. At the time, they lived in a two-bedroom apartment. As competitions produced awards, so came more requests for Neil’s signature barbecue.

After a brief period of unemployment, Phyllis decided it was time to dedicate her time into expanding their talents into a business.

They started vending at the Watts Certified Farmers’ Market (CFM) on Saturdays in November 2008. With plans to grow slowly, they hit the road crawling. It never occurred to either of them that folks were getting ready for Thanksgiving and other holiday parties (who wants barbecue during the holiday season?). Sales were truly pitiful.

By February 2009, Phyllis had registered them into six farmers’ markets that Neil couldn't do because he was still with Wells Fargo. She explained to him that it didn't make sense for them to pay people to do what Neil wanted to do. He tried to talk his boss into letting him work part-time (afraid to take the leap). He came home disappointed that his boss said no. He was soon all smiles when Phyllis told him to go ahead and quit. It scared both of them, but they were stepping out on faith and good food.

Ever since then, Neil and Phyllis have put all their time and efforts into making their business grow successfully. The Kiva loan will allow them to open a full-service restaurant that would help to increase activity in all service areas of the business. It would also allow the company to increase its capacity to increase farmers' market presence.

In this group: Neil, Phyllis
*not pictured

Loan details

Lenders and lending teams

Loan details