Community Lender Helps Entrepreneur Grow Her Business
La Newyorkina is a place for handmade Mexican ice cream, paletas (ice pops), chamoyadas & other treats. It is also a fan favorite all around New York City. La Newyorkina is known for using unique flavors, fruits, and ingredients in its colorful paletas (Mexican popsicles). The journey to small business success wasn’t always sweet, but this story highlights just how integral a role community lenders can play in helping small businesses succeed, and the positive impact these loans can have on the communities they serve.
Sweet Treats with an Authentic Mexican Inspiration
Found at kiosks, carts, and coffee shops in the East Village and a retail store out of Brooklyn, La Newyorkina’s frozen treats and sweets from Mexico are a special treat for locals and tourists braving balmy New York summers.
Founded by Fany Gerson, La Newyorkina was the result of a dream and years of research and hard work:
“I wanted to have my own business, but I didn’t know what to do since I wanted to do it all. One day, I had a dream that I was going to open a Mexican ice cream shop in New York. That’s how I decided to start with paletas, the quintessential frozen treat in Mexico. I thought I could test the idea without spending money on an ice cream machine and see how New Yorkers liked the sweet flavors of Mexico.”
Growth Plans: Meet Hurricane Sandy
Fany’s first store was a resounding success. After making tens of thousands of satisfied customers happy, La Newyorkina was ready to bring their goodies to even more people and expand into other parts of the city. And then Hurricane Sandy happened.
The result: the expansion plans were stalled indefinitely.
Fany Gerson did not give up. She continued with her plans for growth and was even preparing to ramp up the business for the next season. But she needed capital and needed it quickly. “If we had to wait for the loan, we would have missed the whole year. We sell ice cream and other treats; we can’t miss a nice day.” Not only could she not afford to wait for a loan from a commercial bank but this local business could not mess around with just any lender that might distract her from her day to day operations.
CNote partner CDFI comes to the rescue
In search of a solution, Fany attended an event at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce where she met the head of a local CDFI, Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF). She was personally touched by their approach to lending to small businesses like hers – EGF did not just look at numbers of past performance in isolation, but instead took time to understand her plans and vision for the company. This holistic, community-centric view, allowed the lender to see the promise in Fany’s business and her drive to succeed.
A lender that understands its borrowers
The turnaround was also impressive – a loan officer from EGF called Fany the next day and within a week she had the loan approved. What’s more that loan was tailored to La Newyorkina, meeting the specific liquidity and funding needs of the business. With that money, Fany was able to open a second La Newyorkina store.
La Newyorkina & Fany Gerson, a small business success story
Today, Fany thinks back to that stressful time of looking for capital and considers herself lucky and blessed to have met the EGF team. “Summer hit and things have been insane. We’ve hired about 15 more people and are looking to continue our expansion. Getting that loan from EGF allowed us to grow while keeping the business in our kiosks going strong. The future is really bright now. We could not have done it without EGF.”
The power of community lending
Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF) is a CDFI promoting economic development and job creation in New York by providing access to small business loans and business advisory services. EGF is one of the CDFI partners CNote works with. That means CNote investors are helping to funnel more capital to EGF and borrowers like Fany Gerson of La Newyorkina.
We truly believe that ours is a shared success model, you the CNote investor get a better return, CDFIs get more capital and great borrowers like Fany get a chance to expand, grow, and pursue their dreams. Stories like this demonstrate finance doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game.