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Nonprofit LiftFund helps small businesses in a big way

Posted at 8:11 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 21:32:49-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — While this pandemic has kept some businesses closed, one nonprofit wants to help small businesses get back up-and-running.

Local restaurant Price's Chef felt the effects of COVID-19. They tried curbside and delivery, but even that was unsuccessful.

"It was really difficult to stay open, you know," said manager Alex Guerrero. "We were actually losing money instead of making a profit."

Price's Chef decided to close its doors while stay-at-home orders were ongoing. During that time, the restaurant was broken into.

"The man came -- I guess he broke the glass in the front, and he obviously went to the register, tried to find some money," Guerrero said.

Not only was this local favorite closed because of a pandemic, but now it had to deal with repairs such as a damaged kitchen. The front of the restaurant was destroyed, and it needed a new cash register.

After hearing what happened, city councilwoman Paulette Guajardo reached out to Price's Chef, letting Guerrero know about LiftFund. LiftFund is a nonprofit organization that helps small businesses, such as Price's Chef, receive funds in times of need.

Many businesses might be referred to LiftFund for loans in the event they don't meet their bank's underwriting guidelines.

"That might mean, maybe the loan amount they’re asking for is too low," said Liftfund Corpus Christi Marketing Manager Laura Leal Estrada. "Maybe they don’t meet their requirements for gross annual revenues, or maybe right now they have some credit challenges that need to be worked through."

LiftFund then educates business owners to help them figure out the right loans and financial strategies for them.

Currently, LiftFund and the City of Corpus Christi have partnered for their relief-loan program, which currently offers $25,000 -- at zero percent interest -- on a loan.

"This is a type of bridge loan that allows them to have access to capital," Estrada said. "We don’t have a monthly payment for them for four months after they close on a loan. So, I have several people today that are closing on loans today: They won’t have a payment due until September."

Price's Chef agreed to a different kind of loan with LiftFund, that they chose to not disclose. The funds from that loan helped the restaurant keep their employees on the payroll, open at 25 percent capacity, and buy some new inventory.

"They went out of their way when they really didn’t have to, to come help us out and, you know, it’s been a big blessing," Guerrero said.

Find out more about LiftFund here.