Small Business Administration official visits Berks businesses

When Mark Madrid and Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz converse, it is like they’ve regarded each and every other for several years.

“Mucho gusto,” Madrid claims as he embraces Cepeda-Freytiz, owner of Mi Casa Su Casa cafe on Penn Avenue and a Reading metropolis councilwoman.

It is hard to feel that the two just met. Madrid frequented Berks County Thursday as part of his responsibilities as the associate administrator for the Office environment of Entrepreneurial Growth at the U.S. Little Organization Administration. He visited the Pennsylvania Small Company Progress Middle at Kutztown College, Radius Corp. in Kutztown and was now in Looking through to master about the problems of little organization owners.

“We have to have empathy,” Madrid explained, “we have to have elephant ears, not hippo ears, which usually means we have to hear. This is about earning positive we comprehend the terrain in Pennsylvania.”

Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, the proprietor of Mi Casa Su Casa, talks with Compact Organization Administration Affiliate Secretary Mark Madrid in her restaurant on Penn Avenue in Reading through on Thursday afternoon.

Cepeda-Freytiz and Madrid experienced a wide-ranging dialogue on the impression of the COVID-19 pandemic on corporations like hers, and the ensuing source chain disaster. Cepeda-Freytiz confirmed Madrid her children’s artwork, and the two traded stories about their fathers. Cepeda-Freytiz’s father is battling cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, but when his daughter instructed him to chill out, he stated he “didn’t want to get too relaxed.” Madrid’s father, in hospice care with COVID-19 in summer time 2020, was cleansing his environment soon before his death.

“As very long as there is breath and lifestyle in you,” Cepeda-Freytiz said, “you preserve fighting… Which is what my father instilled in me, that really hard perform, that commitment.”

Her father’s mindset assisted her endure the worries of the past 20 months, with the help of loans and support from the SBA’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund and the Kutztown SBDC.

“If we did not have that ongoing regular assistance from these entities,” Cepeda-Freytiz claimed, referring to the SBA and SBDC, Mi Casa Su Casa wouldn’t be in this article right now.

“This is the most legitimate group of individuals you will at any time satisfy,” she claimed. “This is not just a job for them, they’re seriously about serving our local community, serving modest firms. They are generally a telephone simply call away.”

This is not the very first challenge that Mi Casa Su Casa has faced. Cepeda-Freytiz named the Excellent Economic downturn of 2008 a “COVID boot camp.”

“I child you not, I considered I was gonna bounce off the bridge,” she mentioned. “It was that terrible. I was normally crying on the mobile phone with my mortgage. When this funding arrived in, I was like ‘Thank you Jesus!’”

Madrid likes to say that his enterprise is small small business. In the course of the assembly at Mi Casa Su Casa, he praised President Biden’s “Build Again Better” agenda, saying that it would enable little firms. He also touted the SBA’s Community Navigator Pilot Method (CNPP). Related with the American Rescue System, the $100 million software is “hyper nearby,” Madrid stated, “to assist us reach the smallest of the compact.”

Rural Berks County reminds Madrid of his homeland in the Texas panhandle, “where the cattle outnumbered the individuals.” (“That’s why I’m carrying these boots,” he said, pointing to his cowboy boots.)

Madrid is intrigued in the growth of business owners in rural spots.

“We’re making certain that we establish electronic means together,” he reported, “because this ecosystem is so varied.”

The pandemic has designed a new crop of area business owners operating from home, and Cepeda-Freytiz would like to give them the resources to realize success.

“We’re all section of this extended household,” she mentioned, “it’s like just one massive neighborhood. We have to search out for every single other. It’s like a acquire-earn.”

She was so psyched by Madrid’s go to, she acquired new bouquets ready.

“It reminds me that you are functioning a company and that factors each 2nd of every single working day are occurring,” he explained. “And that is attractive.”