Monday, May 1, 2017

The Sandwich Shop - Brooklyn, NY

The Sandwich Shop - Brooklyn, NY

If a business’s financial systems don’t function well, no amount of funding will help the business run smoothly. That’s what co-owners Ricardo Picón and Clarisa Penzini learned when they approached Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF) for a loan for their restaurant and catering business.

Natives of Venezuela, Clarisa and Ricardo fulfilled a lifelong dream when they opened The Sandwich Shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2013. Using slow cooked meats, artisanal ingredients, and family recipes in their sandwiches, they developed a plan that features an original menu concept and figured out ways to keep it cost-effective. In addition to the restaurant, their catering business is a popular choice for film and television crews working in Brooklyn.

When Clarisa and Ricardo approached EGF for a loan, EGF’s Business Advisory Service (BAS) team recognized financial problems that didn’t stem from a lack of revenue but, rather, from a nonfunctioning accounting system and the challenges of understanding the business’s true financial situation.  The business’s interim financials were inaccurate, for example, and there were issues with their credit. Analyzing business transactions—which should be a straightforward task—took hours to untangle. As a result, overall revenues and expenses were misstated. Other significant issues were rooted in equipment and logistical challenges, like connectivity problems between the point-of-sale system, the business bank account and the bookkeeping software. 

EGF’s business advisor analyzed the situation and provided Clarisa and Ricardo with an action plan and credit recommendations. They worked to pay off overdue accounts and attended EGF workshops on creating financial projections. They also received assistance to resolve the financial reconciliation issues from a consultant secured through EGF’s Consulting Corps program at no cost to them.  Their consultant will continue to work with them to ensure they are using QuickBooks™ effectively now that these issues are resolved.  Their EGF advisor continued to work one-on-one with them on both a formalized financial management system and credit counseling. After building a solid understanding of their financial and bookkeeping responsibilities, an action plan to keep them on track and further guidance from the BAS team, they received a EGF SmartLoan™ of $88,000 in February 2017 for equipment and working capital.

As proud owners of a growing small business, Clarisa and Ricardo feel thankful and fortunate to have found EGF and for the support and guidance provided, which makes EGF, in their words, a “friendly lender.”