RPC makes loan to Soldadera Coffee

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Eric Foster. Courtesy Rende Progress Capital

Rende Progress Capital (RPC) has made a loan to a local family- and Latinx-owned coffee business.

Eric Foster — co-founder, chair and managing director of RPC — said Tuesday, Sept. 7, his firm made a loan of an undisclosed sum to Grand Rapids-based Soldadera Coffee.

Soldadera is the second recipient of RPC’s Reduced Interest Schedule for Excellence (RISE) loan program, which offers a flexible, reduced interest rate during the loan term if the borrower makes on-time payments.

“As a racial equity loan fund, RPC is pleased this new customer in our portfolio is a family-owned business,” Foster said. “Family-owned businesses are key in our mission, impact outcomes and goal to create intergenerational wealth for people of color and family economic security.”

A study Foster cited from the Harvard Business Review, “Staying Power: How Do Family Businesses Create Lasting Success,” found family-owned businesses have a variety of keys to success, including higher opportunities for generational wealth and family economic success through preparing the younger generations for succession, stronger consideration of women as potential CEOs, team relationships and trust-building with customers who appreciate products and services from family businesses.

“For those reasons and more, we welcome a great family-owned business and new loan customer to help them maximize on the elements of success for family-owned small businesses,” Foster said.

Founded in 2018, Soldadera Coffee is a startup owned and managed by partners and family members Mario Rodriguez-Garcia, Gaby Rodriguez-Garcia and Cesar Rodriguez-Fontanel. Its cold brew products are packaged in innovative and colorful reusable cans and come from a generational recipe made by the family’s grandmother, a social activist in Mexico.

Soldadera has recently experienced revenue growth due to online sales, individual sales and product placement in SpartanNash stores beginning in 2020.

Using the RISE loan, Soldadera plans to concentrate on “strategically building processes, systems and training to produce more product and equip a workforce where it can spread its social focus of empowering women and racial equity.”

“We are pleased that our lending will be a catalyst of that strategy,” Foster said.

Soldadera plans to expand its focus on wholesale grocers and scale its supply chain operations/product to diversify its sales model. The RISE loan will provide working capital for the company’s purchase of sales training software, marketing, co-packing services and raw materials to produce more coffee while keeping its mission and culture, securing quality contractors and team members, and ensuring effective processes, systems and onboarding.

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