Get a taste of the easy life at Cafe Nola! After visiting New Orleans, husband and wife duo Chris and Andrea decided to open a NOLA-inspired cafe in Kimball, Michigan.“We want to bring the welcoming feel of New Orleans to Michigan,” Andrea said, so they set out to create an inclusive space for individuals in their community.
As they prepared to transform their dream into action, Andrea sought assistance from the Michigan SBDC. She connected with SBDC business consultant Shannon Schwabe, who helped Chris and Andrea write and review their business plan, calculate financial projections, and create their marketing plan. Chris and Andrea were able to use all of these materials to secure funding from their bank to open the cafe.
“The hardest part of starting a business was knowing how to take the concept I had in my head and making it a reality. Connecting with Shannon and the SBDC was the missing piece of the puzzle.”
Like any small business, Cafe Nola has faced their share of startup challenges head-on, much like the City of New Orleans. The cafe opened on February 18 but held their grand opening on March 22, the day before Michigan’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order was implemented. Since the business was only open for a month before the pandemic, Chris and Andrea were not eligible to apply for an SBA loan. Although this was disheartening, Chris and Andrea were able to effectively utilize their marketing plan to sustain their business as they waited for the pandemic restrictions to be lifted.
Today, Chris and Andrea are working with food delivery services like Doordash and Grubhub to deliver their product to customers. The cafe also was able to quickly implement an effective curbside-pickup system. Despite COVID-19 setbacks, Cafe Nola has been able to gain a Facebook fan base of 1,500+ individuals by engaging with their audience, conducting Facebook lives every morning, and creating other valuable content.
Cafe Nola is excited to reopen and provide that warm New Orleans welcome that customers have been waiting for. Follow Cafe Nola on Facebook to keep up with this small and determined business!
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