PHOENIX — It was January of 2020 and all looked good for 63-year-old Patricia Gonzalez. Her son had gifted her with a small alteration business at the corner of 16th Street and Bethany Home Road.
“February was very good, lots of people,” says Gonzalez.
But one month later, things would take an unexpected turn. Her business “Best Stitch LLC” was the only business left open in the small business plaza that has a Starbucks out front.
“Even Starbucks was closed, but not me, I was essential,” adds Gonzalez.
They say attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
“You can come in here, I can fix, anything, anything,” says Gonzalez.
A year later, Gonzalez says it has not been easy but is happy to report her business is still open.
“I put my sign on the corner and the people come in here just for the mask….como se dice salvation, salvation, the masks were your salvation, yes,” says Gonzalez, fluctuating between English and Spanish, her native language.
As businesses are slowly getting back to where it once was, Patricia says another salvation has helped keep her business open and her spirits up.
“The webinars from Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) was my medication because I was very sad,” adds Gonzalez.
The business owner is participating in a new loan program between Chicanos Por La Causa and Wells Fargo, where $5 million are up for grabs for small businesses like hers.
“These are people, these are people who are trying to put food on their tables and trying to employ people to put food [on] their tables and that is what Chicanos Por La Causa is about empowering lives and that is what we are trying to do,” says CPLC CEO David Adame.
The loan she’s getting will help pay to convert her current fitting room and help her purchase industrial-grade sewing machines for all the work that is coming in.
“The new machines for making a very good stitch, the quality is very important for the customer,” adds Gonzalez.
Gonzalez says CPLC is also helping her with marketing tools like the point of sale upgrades and business cards. In the meantime, she’s gotten creative using discarded fabric from gowns to make matching masks.
“ I can make the mask, free,” she adds.
All of this to stay open for years to come.
“This pandemic is not forever, I am ready for the next step."