Natalie is the owner and operator of Stir it Up Authentic Caribbean Soul Food Restaurant. It is a family business that Natalie, with the help of her husband, started three years ago as both a career change for Natalie, and as a way for Natalie to pass on her culture and traditions to her three children. Natalie is applying for a $4,095 loan. Stir It Up currently operates out of a small location in Fernwood Square with no indoor seating and some uncovered outdoor seating. While the restaurant is busy in the warm and dry summer months, the lack of a heated, covered seating area means that Stir It Up is primarily a take-out restaurant during the fall and winter. Natalie intends to use part of the loan to cover and heat the outdoor seating area so she can accommodate people who would prefer to sit down and have their meal in Fernwood Square. Natalie and her husband also recently bought a food cart to take meals out to various industrial areas and sell meals at the dozens of fairs and festivals that are held in Victoria every year. Currently Natalie has to borrow a friend’s car to transport the food cart and can thus only use it two or three days a week. She would like to use a portion of the loan to buy a vehicle she can use to transport the food cart on a daily basis.
A former landlord of Natalie’s is impressed with her ‘determination and hard work’ while a friend admires her capacity to raise three children and open her own restaurant at the same time. As she says, ‘no small feats’ and ‘in order to accomplish this, one would have to be intelligent, innovative, adaptable, well-organized, disciplined, and consistent.’ ‘Natalie’, she says, ‘is willing to do the work that could easily be put off until later.’
Natalie’s credit file indicates that she has accumulated some debt that consists mostly of student loans. She has had some trouble making payments in the past, but on the whole is making an attempt to pay off her debt.
The loan will allow Natalie to significantly expand and grow her business without having to move from Fernwood Square, a neighbourhood she both works and lives in. ‘We have created something from nothing’ she says, ‘and know that we make everything out of anything’