Mario Sauceda, one of the owners of Nuevo Leon Bakery (4062 W 26th St, Chicago, IL 60623), is one of the thousands of Hispanic small restaurant owners who had not previously accessed any assistance during the pandemic.
Now, thanks to the one-on-one technical assistance provided by the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC), many Latino restaurant owners are quickly applying to the federal SBA’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) program.
It is not a loan but a grant provided by the government to which many like Ricardo are entitled.
Guided by his son, Mario arrived at the IHCC office. Our business advisor specialized in RRF, Pedro Guerra, helped him apply in the SBA portal in less than an hour.
Like many immigrant stories, the story of Mario’s father, Don Abel Sauceda, now 86, began on the other side of the border, far from his bakery and home. Originally from Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Abel started working in 1949, at just 13 years old, shortly after his father’s death. While traveling throughout northern Mexico working in copper mines, he caught the eye of a local baker who offered to employ him.
At the time, his only concern was to earn enough money to send back to his family in Nuevo Leon. Little did he know at the time that this decision would mark the beginning of a 68-year career as a baker.
For the next 18 years, he learned the trade and worked in several bakeries in Mexico. A friend convinced him to move to Chicago, where he worked in a local bakery for three years before deciding it was time to open his own business in 1973.
Mario Sauceda grew up living above the bakery and has worked there with his three brothers since he was a teenager.
It was at the bakery where Mario learned what it takes to run a business. He worked with customers, developed relationships, and learned how to ensure the quality of baked goods.
Jaime di Paulo –IHCC President and CEO– has instructed our entire team to provide extensive assistance to small Latino restaurants. That includes door-to-door tours and more hours of one-on-one help, with the goal of as many small businesses accessing RRF benefits as possible.
The IHCC hopes to reach underserved businesses that were not able to access relief at the same rate as other businesses and, in that way, ensure that we can rebuild the economy more equitably,” Di Paulo said.
Owners of restaurants and related food/beverage businesses have until Monday, May 24 at 8pm ET to submit applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.