SBA is Recipe for Success

Chef Alejandra Chavez cooks up delicious dessert

Alejandra Chavez successfully graduated from culinary school in 2002, and began her small business by providing private catering services in her customers’ homes. As her services became more and more in demand, she decided to expand her business into a brick-and-mortar location.

Ms. Chavez applied for an SBA loan to open her first location which had four tables and four employees, today’s Thyme Matters has over 25 employees.  Ms. Chavez’ restaurant has faced growing pains, such as cash flow, employee retention, and customer loyalty problems. Most recently her biggest hurdle has been COVID-19, which she has been able to overcome by applying for the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program loans. 

The SBA loans have helped her in different ways. Her start-up loan helped her get her foot in the door and purchase the necessary equipment to open her business. The PPP loan helped her to recover all of her lost inventory.  The pandemic forced her to start all over again, including rehire her employees who were let go. She didn’t have any cash flow, which the Paycheck Protection Program loan provided and allowed her restart, “the PPP loan did what it was supposed to do,” Ms. Chavez states.

After the issues Ms. Chavez has faced in owning her own business, she still has a positive outlook, and says that the greatest benefit of owning her own business is the ability to determine one’s own future, “the sky is the limit,” she says, “you can be complacent and not do much, or challenge yourself and go the extra mile and be more and more successful.”  It is important to not focus on what others are doing, instead people should challenge themselves to do better.

To anyone considering opening their own businesses, Ms. Chavez recommends they should make sure to do their homework, including a market study, as well as identifying what the challenges are for that type of business. She credits her success with her discipline, she rarely takes time off, and she works while others are resting.

Alejandra Chavez encourages people to take advantage of the SBA’s resources, she was very young, only 26, when she started, she had an idea and a dream, and thanks to the SBA she was able to fulfill that dream.


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