Chef Reign Free, of Red Door Catering, has called the kitchen her home since she was nine, when she first watched her mother cooking traditional West Indian dishes for her family. As an entrepreneur today, Reign pushes to continually improve Red Door Catering’s customer service, community consciousness, and innovative cuisine.
However, when Reign and her partner Steve Rubin were ready to grow the business, they found it difficult to access capital. Although the business had been in operation for years, it was not a full-time venture. Fortunately, Reign was referred to Pacific Community Ventures (PCV).
PCV connected Reign to free mentoring through PCV’s BusinessAdvising.org program. Reign gained financial coaching to help her with financial record keeping, as well as loan applications. In addition, she secured a loan from PCV, which has not only helped her reach a larger customer base but also bring on 10 new staff members.
Working with Reign was a no brainer for PCV. Red Door Catering is a business that not only supports other local businesses by sourcing ingredients from local farmers and producers, but it’s also deeply invested in the community. The business hires from lower income communities in the area, creating quality jobs with great benefits. And it also makes contributions to reduce violence in the city and provide yearly grants to support organizations that offer services to hard-to-reach youth and displaced women.
“Working with the Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital [DCC] group helps us gain insights to drive more capital to diverse small business owners in the Bay area, specifically in Alameda and Contra Costa counties,” said Robert Porter, Managing Director of Small Business Lending at PCV. “In these areas, small businesses owned by African Americans and Latinos are some of the fastest growing, creating jobs that are critical for our communities. Funding through the DCC program has helped us reach more of these businesses who might otherwise not have access to the capital needed to continue in their growth.”
(Date of loan: 2016. Date of story publication: 2016)