In 2009, Wendy and George Mireles opened Café Corazon in the heart of the city’s Riverwest neighborhood. They were one of the first businesses to establish in this distressed area of the central city. Today, locally-owned Cafe Corazon serves up delicious, fresh-from-the-farm Mexican food, provides stable employment to a staff of 38 at this location and has helped to revitalize the Riverwest community. And in early 2016, Wendy and George opened a second location in Bay View, creating 40 new jobs and quickly becoming a popular destination.
But Cafe Corazon’s story almost ended abruptly. In the early days in Riverwest, George and Wendy needed to buy out a third partner and answer to a bank that wanted to call in its debt on a loan. Wendy believes that LRC saved their business. “The bank was refusing to work with us to refinance our line of credit. LRC stepped in and helped us maneuver through a very complicated financing process.” She added, “They took our hand and really brought transparency to things. In the end, we were able to work out a new line of credit with LRC and keep Cafe Corazon open.”
Fast forward five plus years to new plans of expansion. “My husband always knew we’d have a second location,” Wendy noted. “And we knew wherever we went, we wanted to own the building.”
The couple found their choice location on Kinnickinnic Ave. in Bay View. The property needed extensive renovation, which in the end took eight months and more than $500,000.
Throughout it all, the Mireles’ found support from LRC. “LRC went through our numbers and helped us get established with Wisconsin Business Development,” Wendy said. “We needed a pretty hefty loan, and both vendors worked really well together to allow us to make this happen.” She added, “We couldn’t have done this without LRC.