Obtaining a loan for a restaurant can be very difficult these days. “The risks in that industry are somewhat higher than in other industries,” said Dave Hanold, an assistant vice president at NYBDC. “NYBDC is among the few lenders that can consistently find ways to finance businesses in that space.”
Key factors that NYBDC considers are the business plan and the skill of the owners.
The story of Nora and Jean Francoise Gatorze and their bakery/café, La Toulousaine in Manhattan, is a good example of how NYBDC can help. With decades of experience baking fine pastries in their native France, after a few years of working for others in the United States the couple decided to open an authentic French bakery and boulangerie. They found a great location on the Upper West Side that was near their apartment and a number of colleges and offices, and then they set off trying to get a loan to get the store renovated and to purchase the necessary equipment.
Nora explains, “We don’t know much about banking, we know baking.” Their bank only agreed to give them a loan based on the income they get from some rental property they own and they knew it wouldn’t be enough to get their business started. Someone at the bank suggested they speak to NYBDC and they immediately knew it was the right decision.
“They understood that my husband is a true pastry chef and we know what we are doing,” said Nora. “The people at NYBDC helped us to relax and understand what was happening on the banking side. They got us the money we needed, but also helped us with a little more so we could make it work when we first started.”
Today, a year and a half later, post receiving NYBDC financing, the Gatorzes are looking to expand into other pastries such as waffles and crepes. Their coffee business has taken off with the nearby college crowd and the future looks bright.
“When you are working with people who know what they are doing and are both dedicated and talented, it makes finding a way to get their financing a lot easier,” said Hanold. “Nora and Jean Francoise’s expertise was exemplary. That’s the first thing we looked at. Once we knew that they knew what they were doing on the pastry side of the business and took a look at their plan, we were pretty confident that we could make it work.”
“I don’t know how we would have gotten this far without NYBDC,” said Nora.
Pretty soon, they hope to be rolling in the dough.