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SBA Serves Small Business Resources to Caterer

Angela Petro, owner

Angela Petro’s self-described weaknesses of non-conformity and questioning the status quo became her biggest strengths when she began the path to small business ownership. After working for a hospitality business for a short time, she and a friend struck out into the catering industry, with their small business, Two Caterers. That small business fulfilled Angela’s desire to become her own boss and, with the help of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 504 and 7(a) loan programs, she has been in the catering business for 20 years, and branched out into opening her own local restaurant chain, Sweet Carrot.

 “As a small business, we initially struggled with understanding SBA lending requirements and why there were so many steps,” Petro said. “Over the years, I’ve come to understand that the SBA has specific requirements so that many small businesses can have an opportunity to succeed. If a small business doesn’t pay a loan back, they’re taking away another small business owner’s opportunity to grow.”

Petro is currently planning on opening a restaurant in the Polaris shopping area of Columbus. Her previous experience with accessing SBA’s resources has made the process for obtaining this new location better.

“Now I am working with the lender more closely, letting them know what we want to achieve and the steps that we are taking to achieve those goals,” she said. “Through our relationship, we are able to pick the best location for our new restaurant and demonstrate that we have the processes, people and product in place to make that third location a success.”

Petro plans to continue expanding her restaurant franchise to meet the demand for casual comfort food. As her small business grows, she believes there will be both greater opportunities and greater challenges.

“As our business continues to grow, we are able to provide better job opportunities to the local communities. Instead of having two or three catering workers with a minimum wage, we would be able to start providing higher quality jobs, like management, human resources and other administrative areas,” she said.

For Petro, challenges are what she thrives on and she has learned a number of important lessons that have helped her stay in business.

“Communication is key,” she said. “You may have the best employees, but if you are not communicating your goals and your vision, then chaos will result. By collaborating with your people and working with them to find solutions, you begin to build a community in which everyone is going in the right direction and working together.” 

Company Name: 
Two Caterers; Sweet Carrot