Kheng Fruit and Produce has become a staple at the Lynway market in Massachusetts, selling fruits, herbs, sodas, baked goods and speciality foods from Southeast Asia. Its owner, Kimheng Kheng, works hard to keep her customers happy. They come and go, and are as diverse as the variety of fruits she sells — African immigrants, Spanish speakers, Eastern Europeans.
Today, Kimheng’s stand is a fixture in her community and provides access to affordable produce in a neighborhood where it is too often out of reach. While business was good, the road for Kimheng and her family has not been easy. She and her husband immigrated to the U.S. from Cambodia, where approximately 4 million people live on less than $1.25 per day.
With the support of her husband, Kimheng decided to open up a stand so she could bring in more income for her family. In addition to the fruit stand, Kimheng works two part-time jobs and raises a young daughter. Given the responsibility of multiple jobs, the couple’s time was tight. They spent countless hours keeping track of sales and inventory by hand because they lacked funds to buy a computer and bookkeeping software. It became very apparent to Kimheng and her husband that seeking the funds to better manage their time was a necessity in order to keep moving their lives forward.
Kimheng and her husband approached TD Bank for a loan, but as recent immigrants, their credit history was too limited to qualify for business credit. Luckily, their banker referred them to Accion.
With a $3,000 loan they were able to purchase a computer and bookkeeping software. With more time, Kimheng now hopes to open a second stand in another disadvantaged community.
When asked what kind of support she might need moving forward, she quickly replied, I’m going to buy more stuff to sell, fix the lighting in the store, fix the door. I think in the future I’m going to need another store. Accion can help me with business ideas too.