Valerie Taylor did not think she would ask the community to help the five-year-old Rosco Village bakery and coffee shop Loba Pastor + Coffee move to the new location. But after financial institutions rejected applications for a third time for small business loans, in desperation, she launched a GoFundMe campaign earlier this week.
Loba’s customers have already helped keep the small independent bakery in business at the time of the outbreak. Once known to kouign amann, Loba grew its menus over the years. Taylor is inspired by a Mexican root, like a Christian made with whole butter.
But the bakery is in trouble. The campaign will cost $ 25,000. To date, the effort has raised more than $ 18,600. Taylor says on her GoFundMe page that the average cost of building and designing a restaurant or cafe in Chicago is $ 200,000.
“I debated whether to do so or not,” says Taylor. I feel that the community has helped me a lot since 2020. Not only that, “Oh, I really tried.” I had the support of the entire donkey community. I did not want to ask for more. Maybe we refugees are thinking, and the wrong thing here is that we are taking things for granted. But now there is no other way. ”
If all goes well, Taylor plans to open her new venue – the slightly modified name La Loba – in October 1800 on Addison Street. Block Club Chicago reports that the cafe was closed on Wednesday in preparation for the move.
Taylor is an industrial veteran who has worked in the West Lop Blackbard, Charlie Trotor at Lincoln Park, and Coco Pazozo in Chicago. Comments on the GoFundMe page are full of customer support messages. “[Woman of Color]”Famous, star cakes, best heart,” wrote one writer. How can we not support that? ”
In partnership, employee Instagram has been running an online fundraising campaign through Instagram stories since Friday. (Prizes include personal focaccia lessons.) There will also be a meeting in the store from 8 a.m. to midnight, but Taylor prefers people to donate at home because the space is too small for social reasons.
Taylor wanted to stay in the neighborhood, but even before the lease ended in 3422 N. Lincoln Avenue, she knew she had to move and needed a loan. The landlord did not have enough time to make significant renovations and plans for the post-epidemic period. The common table – the only seat in the cafe – had to be removed. There should be a bathroom accessible to the disabled.
She thought she had a solution. In June, Taylor signed a six-year lease on the former dry cleaners a few blocks away from Addison. She had the tools and equipment she needed, and planned to do most of the renovation herself. She estimates it will cost about $ 60,000 to complete the construction and bring the site to the restaurant code. She had to pay rent for July and August on two storefronts, and when Loba moved in and found the new place in order, she had to shut down for at least two months. Her savings do not cover all of this.
She had previously received a business loan. When she took office in 2016, her former boss and adviser, Jonathan Ori, moved to South Carolina and took over the bad wolf coffee. She She immigrated to the United States from Gudalajara in 2004 and worked mostly for low wages. She had no savings and no bad credit. Earlier this year, she received two PPP loans to keep the doors open. This is far from what Chicago’s big restaurant companies accept.
This time Taylor thought, it would be easier. “After being in business for a long time, surviving the epidemic, getting a loan will not be complicated,” she says. “I understand [tax] Returns, cash flow, numbers are correct, my credit score is excellent. I was banned for the third time last week. I could not believe it. There is a secret to getting a loan, and I don’t know. ”
She applied to the banks. He applied for ten businesses and offered $ 10,000. She is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people like her: women, refugees, and people of color. They used to give her $ 5,000, but now she is in a much better financial position, but they only gave her $ 8,500. She is single and cannot apply to what she calls “Mother and Father’s Bank.” She thought she was an investor, but she rejected the idea – she saw people with money making decisions, and she didn’t want anyone to interfere with how she would manage her business or pay extra workers. The $ 25,000 GoFundMe campaign was the ultimate option.
Although she did not expect the $ 25,000 renovation to be fully covered, she hoped it would be enough to keep her going. She continues to apply for a loan. She understands the realities of banks – it is easier to repay a business than to an individual, and they must make money. Every lender has been looking at its financial data since 2020, which has not been the best year in business, for obvious reasons. But she probably didn’t have a great 2020 other than Amazon.
“For people like me,” the system was rigged against you. My company cannot borrow this amount because the bank expects my company to fail. She became even angrier over the charity she refused to mention. “Five years of cash flow, and all I got was $ 8,500? If they offer it to me, and I have a very good credit score, what are you giving to people in a worse situation? What if he does not speak English or has no children? ”
But Taylor did not give up. “I used to write notes myself,” she says. “Like, ‘Remember how angry they were? Do not go back. Do not change your mind. ‘”
La Loba, 1800 W. Addison Street, scheduled for opening in October.