With its second loan funded this week, the mission of MEDA’s new Adelante Fund to provide vital capital and lending options to small-business owners throughout San Francisco is quickly being put into action.
The genesis of Adelante Fund came out of community need. Explains Nathanial Owen (photo, right), who oversaw Adelante Fund’s implementation at MEDA: “Many small businesses struggle to access the lending capital that is oftentimes necessary to help their ventures grow. In addition, many families in our community face barriers in accessing mainstream financial products, leaving them to turn to high-cost predatory lenders in times of need. MEDA recognizes the need to now combine its direct services with fair-lending options for clients.”
Yesterday’s recipient of a $35,000 loan is El Buen Comer, a seven-year-old gourmet catering company that started in a home kitchen and is now expanding into a full-service restaurant in Bernal Heights (3435 Mission Street at Kingston near 30th). The anticipated launch of this brick-and-mortar venue is early December.
El Buen Comer is co-owned by Isabel Pazos and her husband, Juan Caudillo. The vision for the restaurant is Isabel’s, as she looks to prepare the foods of her youth in Mexico City. Everything is made from scratch using organic masa, with enchiladas always hand rolled. Isabel’s staple is guisados: earthy sauces, cooked for hours and stewed with meat or a vegetable and then accompanied by rice and beans.
Juan works at the business, along with their sons.
Isabel has been part of La Cocina, a San Francisco incubator kitchen with the goal of cultivating food entrepreneurs. Under the auspices of La Cocina, the business was able to grow into a highly successful catering company. Products are currently sold at farmers’ markets and they even sell their line of gourmet breadsticks at Delfina’s in the Mission.
After coming with business plan in hand to MEDA’s Business Development team to discuss a prospective loan, El Buen Comer was deemed an ideal recipient of funding to further their entrepreneurial dreams, as they create jobs in the community.
Sums up Owen, “As hardworking immigrants from Mexico, Isabel and Juan have demonstrated tremendous character in starting with few resources to build such a successful business. They have proven to be dedicated and disciplined as business owners over the course of several years working with La Cocina, and they are fully prepared to now open a restaurant. El Buen Comer will be creating three new jobs from the outset of the launch of their restaurant, with a total of 13 new jobs expected in the next two years. I could not be more impressed with them.”