Rende Progress Capital recently made a loan to the startup coffee business Last Mile Café.
The Grand Rapids-based racial equity lender Rende Progress Capital (RPC) said it made a loan of an undisclosed sum to Arick Davis and Sarah Laman, co-owners of Last Mile Café, who were participants in RPC’s loan readiness training course in 2021.
“RPC strives to support businesses such as this one to create generational wealth and economic security for people of color, as well as a business that has clear evidence of a commitment to social responsibility and diversity and inclusion,” said Elisa Starnes, associate partner for lending opportunity and administration at RPC. “It was a pleasure working with (Davis and Laman) throughout the application process, and RPC looks forward to seeing Last Mile Café thrive.”
Last Mile Café — a finalist for the Business Journal’s Newsmaker of the Year in the startups category — is a Black- and woman-owned business founded on the principles of justice and sustainability. When purchasing a product, customers can select from four charitable options to donate to, and the products are ethically sourced with compostable packaging.
Last Mile Café coffee beans currently are sold online and in the Grand Rapids-area stores South East Market, Pack Elephant and Fulton Street Farmers Market, with more locations to come.
Davis and Laman are busy working on their next project: opening a coffee shop location.
In addition to being previously denied a conventional business loan, Davis and Laman said they were discouraged by the traditional lending standards for applicants. Through participating with SpringGR courses and RPC technical assistance programs, they were able to learn how to strengthen aspects of their business ranging from loan readiness to marketing.
The RPC standard loan will help Davis and Laman pay for bulk product and packaging, as well as the machinery to mass-produce their products.
More information on the business is at lastmile.cafe.