Just as he refreshes his customers with the drinks from his business, Robert McNeal was able to refresh his business, Maui Wowi Coffees and Smoothies through support he received during the pandemic from Prestamos CDFI.
“Some people told me that it was not a good time to start a business,” recalls Robert, who signed his contract with the franchise in April 2020, just a month after the health emergency was declared. This entrepreneur operates from the mentality that there is never a perfect time to open a business, you just have to do it. Despite the obstacles he faced, Robert was confident he would succeed through the support and resources available in the community for small business owners to thrive.
He stumbled upon Prestamos CDFI through a referral from an organization that supports microentrepreneurs. This assistance was much needed as the pandemic did not allow him to advance in his business in the way he had anticipated, “many events and activities were canceled and those that took place were not well attened”, recalls Robert. Now that businesses are able to operate normally, his beverage truck is beginning to find new opportunities and busy events where he can participate. In retrospect, Robert thinks the pandemic offered him the opportunity to understand the market, plan and strategize in a meaningful way. This allowed him to introduce himself to the community gradually and successfully.
Regarding the support he received from Prestamos CDFI, he considers that it was a long process but that in the end it was worth it and he recommends it 100%. Robert used the funds he received to consolidate business debts since the interest rate they offered him was very reasonable. He also used the resources for payroll, marketing activities and to buy some equipment.