After falling in love with the city of Bremerton, Mario Amaya and his wife Ofelia decided to launch a small-scale lunchtime operation, specializing in tacos and Salvadorian pupusas. They served nearby Navy shipyard workers during the lunch rush, preparing the food under a portable tent with a propane grill.
“In the beginning, I just took the plunge. I came from nothing and just we took a chance on this,” said El Balcon Owner, Mario, when asked how it all started. “El Balcon has really evolved from humble beginnings on the sidewalk in downtown Bremerton.”
They quickly gained notoriety as a hotspot for authentic South American and central American fusion comfort food, right in the heart of Bremerton. After some trials and tribulations, they relocated the bustling sidewalk operation into a small storefront, officially operating as El Balcon.
As word continued to spread and revenue increased, they decided to expand their space to include a larger kitchen and dining area.
But in the middle of renovations, the unexpected happened – a leak in the roof caused significant damage, halting the project. Mario knew they needed to act fast to make repairs to stay on the fast track for growth but they faced a common obstacle among small business owners – no easy access to funding.
“My own bank wouldn’t lend me what I needed to stay afloat while all of this was happening,” said Mario. “I’m sure there are small businesses like myself in the same position.”
Mario sought and received the funding from Reliant to get out of a hard spot when the banks couldn’t help.
“We were in a position where we needed to invest in repairs and upgrades quickly. We were in the red and struggling,” said Mario. “That first round of funding we received from Reliant kept us above water and allowed us to buy new equipment and make repairs like new painting and flooring.”
“The money helped us right when we needed it and we immediately had it without going through all of these loops. It was possible to use the money and see the return on investment,” said Mario.
While the leaky roof was a setback, they made the repairs and have since bounced back. They even have plans to open another restaurant in downtown Seattle.
“We are excited about opening a restaurant with a fusion Mexican, Salvadorian and Arabian dishes. We are also fortunate enough to give back by leading a variety of charitable projects,” said Mario. “You have to give back, that’s the formula of life.”
No matter the industry, unexpected business costs can take any small business by surprise. Covering those costs is one of the most significant challenges small business owners face.
We work with our financial partners to create a variety of customizable financing options for businesses just like yours. Based on the needs and finances of the business, we will work together to find a number and plan that works best for you. Questions? We are always here to help.