Manny and Ruth Paez, owners of Manila Forwarder freight company
The Mid-City BusinessSource Center helped husband and wife duo Manny and Ruth Paez obtain a $50,000 loan to keep their freight company Manila Forwarder stay open during COVID-19. The couple launched the business in January 2018, which specializes in importing and exporting packages from the U.S. to the Philippines.

Manila Forwarder delivers care packages known as balikbayan boxes, along with drop shipping, money transferring and logistical services to and from the Philippines worldwide by land, sea, and air. In addition, the company assists with commercial trade dealings and relocation assistance.

Business was growing steadily until 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic brought business to a standstill. Manila Forwarder was categorized as an essential business and was allowed to continue operations by the California Safer at Home Order, but that did not alleviate the lack of business growth opportunities.

Manny and Ruth knew they needed help to keep their business alive. Given the type of industry they are in, there are not many financial institutions that are willing to provide the capital needed to keep Manila Forwarder operating.

In July 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration Los Angeles District office referred them to the Mid-City BusinessSource Center, which is overseen by EWDD contractor Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE). They met with business counselor Daae (Diana) Chung and loan counselor Jennifer Whelan. Diana and Jennifer reviewed the business plan and financials for Manila Forwarder and presented a variety of solutions.

Manny and Ruth successfully applied for a $50,000 disaster loan from PACE Finance to help cover payroll, working capital, and partial rent. The infusion of capital helped Manila Forwarder prepare for the busy 2020 holiday shipping season. The loan also allowed the business owners to keep five jobs and create three new jobs. Manny and Ruth continue to meet with Diana and Jennifer. Most recently, the center advised the couple to pivot their business by implementing an online “no contact service” for their customers.

Manny and Ruth said they are thankful for the services that the Mid-City BusinessSource team provided during these difficult times. Manila Forwarder is located in LA City Council District 1.

EWDD’s BusinessSource and WorkSource Centers offer a variety of Business Services, including several Financial Programs and Development Incentives for businesses of all sizes. Learn how EWDD can help.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of April 5, 2021. Read this issue and more.