In 1994 I opened a café on the south side of Chicago with $8,000 in cash and credit cards. It was a new concept for this neighborhood. When we needed to buy more equipment, the banks wouldn’t touch us. We were referred to Accion, and they loved what I was doing. The $5,000 Accion loan we received gave us a boost like you wouldn’t believe. I’d given up a lot to keep the place running and we wouldn’t have survived without it. We went back to Accion for another loan in 2000.
Since our opening, we’ve expanded from one employee to thirteen, and we gross $500,000 annually. We’ve grown from a walk-in café to a social hub and we support community events in every way possible. We have regulars who’ve been coming here for 20 years. We’ve created a tight-knit community and the neighborhood wouldn’t be the same without us.