Racial equity firm funding grocery store, restaurant

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Idalia Tinoco, owner of La Casa Del Pollo Loco Courtesy Idalia Tinoco

Rende Progress Capital selected two more loan recipients to receive funding from its RACE4Progress COVID-19 small business relief fund.

Cuong “CQ” Huynh, co-founder and general manager of Rende Progress Capital Courtesy Cloverdale Photography

Cuong “CQ” Huynh, RPC co-founder and general manager, said the firm’s loan committee selected a pair of Latinx-owned businesses to receive undisclosed sums from its RACE4Progress loan fund created to help “excluded entrepreneurs” grapple with the economic impact of COVID-19.

RPC defines excluded entrepreneurs as African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, Native American and immigrant business owners who are impacted by the racial wealth gap and are more likely to seek predatory loans due to small business loan exclusion.

“As coordinator of the RACE4Progress relief loan fund, I am pleased to share another group of relief loan recipients at the start of this September,” Huynh said. “Restaurants and grocery stores are both important to all communities — especially for communities of color lacking such presence or access — and have been very vulnerable during this pandemic.

“According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food insecurity is defined as ‘a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.’ An analysis examining trends in food insecurity from 2001-16 found that food insecurity rates for non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic households were at least twice that of non-Hispanic white households.

“While more must be done, RPC is pleased to highlight new September relief loan recipients to help them persevere and provide food to all segments, including communities of color.”

New RACE4Progress loan fund recipients

National Supermarket Two: Owned by Carol Benjamin Cruz-Toribio and located at 1000 W. Fulton St. in Grand Rapids, National Supermarket Two is a grocery store providing West Side customers — and many throughout Grand Rapids — with Latin American grocery products and takeout food.

The store also provides various specials and deals to lessen the negative economic impact of the pandemic on its customers. National Supermarket Two accepts WIC (Women Infants and Children), EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) and Bridge Card payments and provides remittance services for shoppers to help them send money to their families in Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

The RACE4Progress loan will allow National Supermarket Two to replenish its inventory to meet customer needs, address past and current vendor payment obligations, and provide working capital for continued operations.

More information on National Supermarket Two is on its Facebook page.

La Casa Del Pollo Loco: Owned by Idalia Tinoco, La Casa Del Pollo Loco (House of the Crazy Chicken) is a restaurant and catering business at 244 28th St. SW in Grand Rapids that opened in 2015. It specializes in firewood chicken and meats. La Casa Del Pollo Loco is open for dining and has a comprehensive COVID-19 response and set of standards for online/contactless ordering, employee protective gear and testing to provide customers with its breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings.

The business was a participant in the Transformando West Michigan program of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which is an official RPC partner. The program connects Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs to the resources they need to succeed through mentoring, cosmetic improvements to their businesses, marketing, employee training, access to capital and strategic planning.

The RACE4Progress loan will allow La Casa Del Pollo Loco to meet vendor payment and inventory/supplier obligations while strengthening its operations as it recovers from the shutdown from March to June of this year due to COVID-19.

More information on the restaurant is at lacasadelpolloloco.com.

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