Her restaurant has been growing in popularity, and was even recently featured in a viral TikTok about where to find small, local Black businesses. “Recently some people came all the way from Chicago! It means something to see them travel here to specifically visit us,” she shares about recent customers.
During COVID, Rolanda partnered with the County’s emergency relief program to deliver thousands of meals to students and families.: “The irony is we were actually doing more business during COVID because of all the deliveries.”
One day, however, Rolanda’s restaurant was devastatingly vandalized, likely due to increasing attention on the business. Unexpectedly, she needed to immediately remodel the façade and replace key appliances. She has since installed a security system, cameras, and accordion garage doors to protect the restaurant at night. And she wasn’t going to let this obstacle discourage her from bouncing back.
Earlier this year, Rolanda discovered the Open for Business ABLE loan by word-of-mouth. The loan can be used for remodeling, has a low 3% interest rate, and adopts a more holistic underwriting process that includes personal and business credit, but also looks at a variety of other business success factors.
“Applying for the loan with PSE and Gilda came at just the right time,” Rolanda shared emotionally. “When she started coaching me through the application and could tell I was overwhelmed, she immediately stopped and encouraged me to pray.”
Several months later, with fresh coats of paint, an electric-to-gas conversion, and new digital POS and ordering system, Lovely’s is beaming with excitement, flavor, and optimism. “We just launched an all-new brand with matching colors and are increasing our engagement on social media.
This is just the beginning of a rebirth.”