Responding to a Sign
Fabiola had just turned 18 when she moved from Ecuador to New York City. From a young age, she had been enchanted with the city, and even after enrolling in school in Ecuador to become a lawyer, she couldn’t help but feel like her purpose resided thousands of miles away. Despite her mother’s hesitation and a lack of knowledge for what lay ahead, Fabiola was fearlessly optimistic, propelled by a desire to discover her passion and leave her mark in a new city. “One day, I saw a “help wanted” sign in a local restaurant window. That’s how I started in the food industry.”
Unwaveringly ambitious, Fabiola rose quickly through the restaurant industry, becoming the Director of Operations for 12 franchise restaurants. Yet Fabiola realized her passion was for being in the kitchen, where she knew she could have the greatest and most direct impact on customers. Fabiola wanted to not only cook but create an unforgettable customer experience, specifically within Ridgewood, the neighborhood she had been living in for the past two decades. “I like to “wow” people. I want to see empty plates and make people happy.” While Fabiola enjoyed her current job, it didn’t allow her the direct community impact she wanted to create. When Fabiola discovered the company she worked for was closing, she knew it was time to take a leap and start her own business.
A New Chapter
Meanwhile, Fabiola’s mother and brother had moved from Ecuador to join her in Brooklyn. “My family is so important to me. I told my mother and brother about my idea and they were really supportive. So together, we started Paloma’s.” Together they transformed a former deli into a Mexican restaurant. After seeing the immediate success, Fabiola knew there was still much more to be done to keep up with customer demand. Fabiola was referred to Accion by her banker at TD Bank, and with her loan, she purchased more cooking equipment and expanded her kitchen so she could cook for more customers at once. She added tables and chairs to the front of the restaurant, giving it a more inviting appearance. The results were immediate. “It’s been a month and we’ve already seen a 10% jump in our sales. I can also now increase the geographic range of deliveries.”
Made with Love
Now that she’s in the kitchen every day, Fabiola is able to have a profound impact on her community through the way she knows best. “I put my heart and soul into every dish I make. When they eat my food, I want my customers to have a memorable experience.” With the success of Paloma’s only growing, Fabiola already has plans for a second Paloma’s location. “My family and I all have the same goal: to grow our business and create more jobs for people.”