ROSCOE VILLAGE — The owner of Loba Pastry + Coffee in Lakeview is hoping community support will help her finish the buildout of business’s her new home in Roscoe Village by the fall.
Owner Valeria Taylor announced last year she was moving to a location at 1800 W. Addison St. near the border of Roscoe Village and Lakeview.
Taylor’s trying to raise $25,000-$50,000 in crowdfunded small loans through the website Honeycomb Credit within the next month to help cover construction costs.
Loan crowdfunding allows supporters to essentially invest in a business. As the business grows and generates revenue, the owner pays back the investors with interest by the end of the loan term, according to the Honeycomb website.
Taylor is raising money with a 10.25 percent interest rate. She’s raised $28,600 from 18 investors using Honeycomb as of Tuesday.
“The construction just keeps getting pushed, and the materials are very costly,” Taylor said. “I feel like the big things are almost done, and I have my new business license. I just need to make sure that things are finished and up to code so the health department can give us a go.”
Taylor planned to open in September 2021, but converting the former dry cleaners into a coffee shop and bakery has taken longer and proved more expensive than she expected, she said.
After consulting with her architect, Taylor estimates it’ll cost about $225,000 to finish the redesign of the Addison spot, she said. The $25,000 she raised through a GoFundMe last year to help cover the cost of the move and buildout quickly dried up, she said.
“I didn’t have the full idea of everything that needed to be done to get this place open,” Taylor said. “But once I got in touch with an architect, that’s when I really understood everything that needed to be done.”
Taylor was able to navigate pandemic disruptions to the restaurant industry thanks to customer support, her GoFundMe and her savings, despite being told her business was “too small” to receive financial aid, she said.
“In surviving the pandemic, I realized that my funding options were very limited,” Taylor said. “It was very upsetting to me, but, luckily, my customers, my community, they came through.”
Taylor relaunched the GoFundMe earlier this month with a new goal of $50,000. Taylor has raised $27,577 as of Tuesday. For the final push to open the shop, Taylor decided to also look for new funding options.
“The GoFundMe was a good starting point. And I had savings and was able to get a small loan,” Taylor said. “But that estimate is why the Honeycomb Credit loans are so important. This is my last chance to finish the build out.”
Honeycomb came to Taylor’s attention after she saw another small business post about a successful campaign on social media, she said.
“With GoFundMe, the model is, ‘Please give me this money, I really need it,’” Taylor said. “But with Honeycomb it’s, ‘Hey, do you have X amount of money you can spare? You’ll get a return on it.’ I think it’s really cool, and I hope it works.”
Taylor is from Guadalajara, Mexico, and moved to Florida in 2004 before coming to Chicago in 2010.
“Growing up in Mexico, food was always the centerpiece of any family get together,” Taylor said. “You’re not just making a meal. You’re you’re making something to share with people, for them to enjoy and have a good time.”
After moving to the United States, Taylor realized she missed that sense of community, which led her to become a pasty chef and open her own cafe and bakery, she said.
When it came time to choose a name for the business, Taylor remembered a podcast about wolves being reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park. She said she was captivated by one of the female wolves who was “absolutely badass,” a fierce hunter and warrior and the leader of her own pack that took in stray wolves.
“She just shattered any expectations of what scientists thought a female wolf could do, and I thought that was awesome,” Taylor said.
That experience — combined with Taylor’s childhood memories of her grandma in Mexico warning her about wolves in the desert — led her to name the cafe Loba, which is Spanish for female wolf, she said.
“Loba is a way to share my passions, the things that make me very happy,” Taylor said. “Sharing food with people in a neighborhood that has welcomed me with open arms.”
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