Update: Rende Progress Capital Highlights Various New Racial Equity Loan Customers

Rende Progress Capital [RPC] reached many milestones including ending Fiscal Year 2020 by exceeding exceeded loan deployment goals such as:

  • Increasing loan deployment by 339% and surpassing our new loan customer goal of new loans.

  • 66% of RPC loan customers are Women of Color-owned businesses.

  • Diversification of our portfolio that included first-time loan customers in technology, food and adult/senior care services.

  • An improvement in Asian American loan customers from 0% Asian Americans in 2019 to a current 26% of our customers. These activities also led to increased demographic representation with 34% Hispanic/Latinx customers and 52% African-Americans. Overall, 90% of our customers received a loan for the first time from any institution.

RPC has continued this momentum in the early quarters of FY 2021 with loan approvals and closings. Among some of the new and growing RPC racial equity small business loan customers are the following:

United Freedom Painting: A new RPC RACE4Progress Relief Loan Customer for relief lending to address financial harm due to COVID-19, United Freedom Painting [Wyoming, MI] provides interior and exterior painting services for commercial and residential clients. Owned by Ms. Santa Matias Gomez, United Freedom Painting has been servicing clients in Michigan with high quality services with a focus on affordability, customer respect and attention to detail.

Knockout Health and Wellness: A new standard loan customer. Knockout Health and Wellness, owned by Kamethia Wilson, is our first Lakeshore [Muskegon, MI] customer. Ms. Wilson is a veteran and participated in the Michigan Veteran Entrepreneur-Lab at the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Grand Valley State University [an RPC partner]. The business is focused on providing both on-site and on-line active, healthy lifestyle and fitness training classes for individual and organizational clients in the form of lively fitness programs such as boxing and MMA-style workouts.

National Supermarket Two: Located at 1000 Fulton Street West in Grand Rapids not too far from the RPC office, National Supermarket Two is a Grocery Store providing West Side customers---and many throughout Grand Rapids---with authentic Latin American grocery products and take-out food. Owned by Mr. Carol Benjamin Cruz-Toribio, the store is also providing various specials and deals attentive to the economic impact of the pandemic to its customers. The store provides a key service to the community through accepting WIC [Women Infants and Children], EBT [Electronic Benefit Transfer] to Bridge Card holders and remittance payment services for shoppers to send money to families in Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

La Casa Del Pollo Loco: La Casa Del Pollo Loco [House of the Crazy Chicken] is located in Grand Rapids at 244 28th Street, SW. Owned by Ms. Idalia Tinoco, this restaurant and catering business specializes in firewood chicken and meats. La Casa Del Pollo is open for dining and has a comprehensive COVID-19 Response and set of standards for on-line/contactless ordering, employee protective gear and testing to provide customers with its breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings.

Asia Nails: Owned by Mr. Hai Le, Asia Nails located at 6141 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI is a full-service beauty salon. The business offers a variety of nail care services such as manicure, spa pedicure, nail enhancements, facial and waxing---which are provided through the use of all-natural ingredients. In business since 2015, Asia Nails is committed to using the highest quality products in each of its diverse service areas.

Emonae Korean BBQ Restaurant LLC: Owned by Ms. Myong Yoon Holloway and founded in 2016, Emonae Korean Barbecue Restaurant at 6246 28th St SE in Grand Rapids is another RACE4Progress Loan customer demonstrating both need of support amid the pandemic, resiliency and pivoting to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Some members of the RPC Loan Committee can attest to Myong's perseverance and passion in her work as they visited Emonae Korean Barbecue Restaurant for a lunch-time meeting last month. Specializing in authentic Korean cuisine and BBQ "with a lot of Seoul in Grand Rapids," Emonae Korean Barbecue offers a variety of its meals and focuses on providing quality consistent food and serving customers genuine dishes like Korean delicacies, soups, vegetarian and tofu and barbecue via dining and online ordering.

Grand Rapids Senior Social Exchange and Adult Day Care: Owned by Ms. Jodie Robertson and founded in 2018, Grand Rapids Senior Social Exchange and Adult Day Care at 3212 Eastern SE Grand Rapids, MI 49508 is other RPC RACE4Progress Loan customer representing our diverse portfolio. As the only business in our portfolio that is in the service space of mental health and wellness for vulnerable populations, Grand Rapids Senior Social Exchange and Adult Day Care supports Grand Rapids-Area Senior Citizens with professional social, behavioral, medical and financial services. In addition, the business provides on-site services, activities and events to seniors while their families and care-givers are attending to errands and other obligations.

Applause For ACE, LLC: Owned by Mr. David Castro Godoy and established in 2012, Applause Catering + Events located at 3755 Broadmoor Ave Suite C in Grand Rapids is another RACE4Progress Loan customer demonstrating both need of support amid the pandemic, resiliency and pivoting to meet the challenges of COVID-19.

A staple in the Grand Rapids area, Applause Catering + Events, has been the official caterer for many West Michigan events. Applause Catering + Events delivers food boxes to corporate meetings, happy hours or family gatherings.

Thien Ly, Alterations Inc: Owned by Mr. Lee Thien Ly, Lee Tailors was established in 2003 and is located at 3700 Rivertown Parkway, Suite 1156 in Grandville. The business is another RACE4Progress Loan customer demonstrating both need of support and perseverance through COVID19. With much success in the Grandville area, Lee Tailors has been in the dry cleaning and tailoring business for nearly two decades. Additionally, Lee Tailors provides custom tailoring and alterations for formal attire as well as casual wear, upholstery, leather works and embroidery. Lee Tailors also provides free quotes.

Taylor's Home Care, LLC: Owned by Mr. Thurman Taylor, an intrepid African-American businessman, Taylor's Home Care was established in 2015. Located at 1505 Morewood Drive SE in Grand Rapids and also providing its services at contracting sites, Taylor's Home Care provides senior citizens within and outside of Grand Rapids with assisted living and care services. The business focuses on keeping seniors independent and active in a safe, enjoyable and home-like setting through services ranging from non-medical assistance within one or more Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and meals to housekeeping and amenities as well as transportation.

DJ Blaze, LLC: Mr. Steven Bryant is the owner of DJ Blaze in Grand Rapids. He has continued to move his business forward by focusing on adding his fledging celebrity customer market to his client base----despite the challenges and losses that COVID-19 has presented to him, his family and his business. Established in 2008, DJ Blaze has been entertaining the Grand Rapids community through weekend DJ Services for weddings and parties. Since the onset of COVID-19, Mr. Bryant has not able to continue his DJ Services due to policy restrictions and social distancing. Subsequently, more than 30 shows were cancelled and he had to let go of his staff creating a financial burden for himself, and his family. In addition, the impact of COVID-19 on some of Mr. Bryant's family members took an emotional toll on him as well.

Mosby's Popcorn: Launched in 2015 by Brian and Shavyea Mosby. One of two RPC racial equity loan customers located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mosby's Popcorn can be found at 15 Ionia Ave SW. Mosby's has a vast offering of specialty flavored popcorn serving customers at their location as well as their services to clients for major events and activities such as ArtPrize, Grand Valley State University and other corporations and organizations. RPC appreciates official partner Grand Rapids Area Black Business for connecting Mosby's with RPC.

In addition to business considerations and the opportunity for the loan as a tool to help an African-American owned business remain downtown, RPC and its loan committee were intentional in approving this loan based on family ownership and family economic security. According to Brian Mosby, the RPC loan will help "adjust [in a COVID-19 environment] to increase our visibility online and the ability to expand our online presence" in addition to its at-location sales.

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