Solano SBDCFairfield, CA

"It was a great pleasure working with the SBDC.  They guided us all the way through the process and were very patient with us.  We would not be able to do this without their knowledge and help."

Gigi and Ray Canepa
Background: Vintage Caffe is a full service restaurant owned by Gigi and Ray Canepa. The caffe is located in the Suisun Valley in picturesque Mankas Corner, a delightful retail corner surrounded by vineyards and country roads yet only a couple of miles from Fairfield, California. The restaurant has an Italian menu and casual décor. Gigi was a former food buyer and chef for the upscale retail grocer Andronico’s and has brought her passion for quality food and wine to the restaurant which she and Ray purchased. In the fall of 2007, they received the opportunity to expand the business and open a deli and retail outlet that will allow them to expand their catering business while creating local replacement meal and deli clientele. Ray and Gigi approached the City of Fairfield for a bridge loan to complete the funding needed for the project and at the suggestion of the City, began to work with business advisors from the Solano Small business Development Center.

Challenges: The City’s loan application process can be daunting for applicants as the growing list of documentation and support material is similar to the information required by commercial lenders. Completing the business plan including project costs, isolating equipment and development costs, completing assumptions and projected revenues and expenses were among the challenges Gigi and Ray faced. Next, the City requested further information to justify these projections as well as expanding the marketing plan.

Actions Taken: The SBDC worked with Gigi and Ray to assist them with the loan application process and the required documentation. They worked with business advisor Monahan on the plan, the assumptions and projections and he also later fashioned a formal additional submission of research to support the assumptions. Submission of their packet took place in March and April of 2008 with the additional information submitted in May and July.

Results: As a result of these efforts, Gigi and Ray secured the financing they needed to open the deli.  Construction work has started on the tenant improvements for the site toward an anticipated Fall 2009 opening date.  The project has also helped spur other new development on the block with several other new businesses planned to open in 2009.  This project has the potential to transform downtown and be an important part of the revitalization of downtown Fairfield.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.