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Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative (NPI)

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 Katherine Usavage

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014

Last Friday, on Valentine’s Day, our group met with Yacanex Posadas (a small business consultant) and Carmena (the new owner of Emit Mini Market) for a basic introductory meeting to scope out the business and figure out what Carmena wanted to get out of the Wells Fargo Small Business Renovation Program. We arrived a little before Yacanex, so we tried to analyze the sign which almost looked like it read “EMT Grocery and Dairy Product” due to the fact that the “I” has a power sign above it. As we would learn, the small business owner, Carmena, went to put in the paperwork to formally lease the business but hadn’t decided on a name yet. So she scrambled the first letter of some of her relatives’ names until she decided on “EMIT.”

So anyways, once Yacanex arrived, we went inside to actually see the business. It’s an oddly-shaped store that basically looks like a rectangle with a triangle on one side, and it is clear that there is a random assortment of items left over from the previous business owner. There were even windshield wipers there! So we walked around, taking notes along the way of what possible changes we could make. Then Yacanex introduced us to Carmena so we could start talking about what she wanted from us.

Carmena is a slight Hispanic woman who seemed genuinely excited for our help. She told us that she’s only had the business for six months, and that the previous owners ran the shop as an Asian market. Suddenly the cup full of chopsticks for sale made sense. Also left over from the previous owners was a water filtration system for people to fill up jugs of water which has very little maintenance, so that’s one draw to her store. In fact, in the hour we were there we witnessed three sales off of the water.

With some translation help from Yacanex, we were able to get a general feel for what Carmena’s vision of her small business was and we started developing some ideas of our own. Overall, my group is really excited for what lies ahead as we try to help Carmena out!

 
 
 
 
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