Renton Coffee Business Stays Afloat During Pandemic, Continues to Make Positive Impact, With Help From SBA Resources

Efrem Fesaha holding a cup of coffee

In 2020, Efrem Fesaha proudly celebrated the 1-year anniversary of the opening of Boon Boona Café in Renton, WA. Two months following the anniversary of a successful debut, the COVID-19 pandemic began. The business immediately experienced a 60% drop in revenue and Fesaha was faced with a whole new set of challenges in order to keep his staff employed, his business open, and everyone safe while doing so.

Fesaha turned to SBA’s COVID-19 recovery programs for the support he needed to stay afloat. The SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provided funding to bring his staff back to work and the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provided the cash flow Fesaha needed to maintain the health and safety of his customers and staff while adapting his business model to ongoing challenges.

By utilizing relief funding through SBA COVID Recovery programs, Fesaha was able stay in business throughout the pandemic, and continues to thrive moving forward. Boon Boona has now opened a second location and supports a staff of 20 employees.

In May of 2022 Fesaha was named Washington Small Business Person of the Year by SBA Seattle District, as well as Pacific Northwest Small Business Person of the Year, selected among state winners from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, making him one of 10 finalists for the SBA National Small Business Person of the Year.

From the Owner

“The advice I give to other entrepreneurs is to find something that you are truly passionate about, and make sure there is a positive impact for those in your community,” Fesaha said. “Honestly, that is where I find a lot of my joy. If you can make a positive impact to someone else, that’s true success to me.”

This article does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the SBA of any opinions, products, or services of any private individual or entity.