West Coast Client: Gilma Parra
Adjusting to change can be challenging, whether it’s remembering to carry hand sanitizer in your bag, wearing a face mask or adapting a business to new operating procedures. Prospera client Gilma Parra has done it all. In 2016, she and her husband purchased Sabor Paisa Restaurant and took on a whole new life as business owners. They had little experience managing the business and found their new normal to be quite challenging. What kept them going was that this new venture gave them the opportunity to buy a house and support themselves financially.
“My favorite part of my work is the connection with people,” Parra states. “They aren’t just clients. They are friends.” But upon the COVID-19 outbreak, after nearly four years of successfully managing the restaurant, Parra was faced with an unprecedented obstacle. “When the COVID-19 emergency began, our sales dropped and we had to start relying on deliveries, but those were still not making enough money to maintain our employees. We had to close, but not just because of the drop in sales. We needed to take care of our employees and ourselves. We closed for six weeks. When we re-opened, it was just me and one other employee on staff,” Parra reports.
When Parra first purchased her business back in 2016, she was referred to Prospera by a friend who advised her that we could assist Hispanic entrepreneurs wanting to learn how to establish, manage and grow a successful business. She reached out to us for a business development consultation. During the outbreak of the Pandemic, Parra reached out to Prospera again for support and assistance.
Through Prospera, Parra was able to work with ACCION to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program Loan (PPP). “Everyone involved in the process was very timely and attentive to my questions and concerns. They collaborated with me a lot. Just one week after applying, I had the money I needed! I was able to re-open and invite more of my employees back.” Today, Parra continues to adapt to our developing circumstances while keeping her business running.
“We’ve been very busy,” she says. “We continue to operate at the required capacity (with deliveries). Although people still hesitate about entering the restaurant, our staff continues to follow all sanitization guidelines. At first, it was hard to adjust to these changes, but we adapted little by little to comply with the new norms.”
When asked what advice Gilma had to give to other restaurant owners trying to survive during this pandemic, Parra said, “I know the situation is difficult for everyone and their business, but they need to try to see how they can better themselves and overcome these challenges. If you love your business, you will do things with more passion and things will get better day by day.”
For more information about Sabor Paisa Restaurant, go to saborpaisarestaurant.com