The pandemic has been devastating for many neighborhood businesses, with shutdowns, capacity limitations, and ongoing health fears chipping away at revenue. Nationwide, the pandemic is estimated to have shuttered 200,000 small enterprises, significantly affecting minority owners, immigrant communities, and other underserved areas with limited access to capital.

For Diamaris (Lulu) Quiles, a Chicago entrepreneur, there have been challenges over the last 18 months, but there has also been an opportunity: the chance to purchase a commercial space for her Salon La Rouge in one of the city’s most prominent Latino neighborhoods, Belmont Cragin. It would not only move her from a renter to an owner, but it would also position her salon on a busy thoroughfare that would help increase her long-term business potential.

She just needed flexible, affordable financing to be able to move forward.

“This is a key value of LISC for small businesses,” noted Alex Ruiz, small business lending officer at LISC Chicago, who worked with Quiles on a loan to support the property purchase. “We don’t judge businesses as too small, too new, or too thinly capitalized to fit within conventional lending rubrics, and we don’t look at a neighborhood and say it’s too risky because of local income levels. This is the market we serve. We see the opportunity in making financially sound investments in owners like Lulu all around the country.”

Read the full article about empowering diverse small businesses at LISC.