Alejandro Suarez, owner of Churro Hub Café in Arleta
Churro Hub Café is a churreria, coffee shop, café, and soon-to-be ice cream shop that opened its doors to the Arleta community in August 2019. Proud owner Alejandro Suarez opened the café to share his appreciation for Mexican culture and cuisine with the San Fernando Valley. The café offers locally roasted coffee, authentic Mexican snacks, drinks and delicious churros.

Alejandro got his first taste at preparing food and experimenting with different flavors by assisting his wife with her family daycare business. In addition to preparing meals for the children, Alejandro began to incorporate making cookies, donuts, and churros as part of the activities for the children. He also volunteered at events that led him to experiment with coffee and frappes. He realized he truly enjoyed serving people and began to think about starting his own café.

With less than a year in business and the start of a pandemic, Churro Hub Café experienced a decline in sales, leading Alejandro to reduce employee hours and fall behind on rent and other expenses. To keep his business running, he took over additional responsibilities to minimize costs.

Worried about his business, his wife, a current North Valley BusinessSource Center client, advised her husband to contact Alma Torres, a Certified Financial Business Coach with the North Valley BSC. In the past four months, Alma has provided Alejandro with COVID-19 business guidance, including loan prep assistance in applying for numerous COVID-19 relief funding programs. She also referred him to LA Optimized to help increase the café's digital presence by marketing online and expanding their sales.

"Not everyone has access to this kind of help," he said. "I recommend the North Valley BusinessSource Center, especially to those businesses that don't have that extra hand and are juggling a lot at once. They don't just help with paperwork, but they also provide you with resources. They can guide you with issues you may have, and sometimes with things you didn't even know you needed help with!"

The North Valley BSC helped Churro Hub Café successfully obtain funding from the California Relief Grant and PepsiCo Grant. The funds allowed Alejandro to retain two full-time employees and two part-time employees. He is now able to give more hours to his employees and is currently looking to hire. Churro Hub Café was also referred to the North Valley WorkSource Center to receive further assistance on hiring and recruitment.

"With finances improving, we can now focus on serving a great product and providing great customer service," he said.

Churro Hub Café is located in La City Council District 6.

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 August 16, 2021. Read this issue and more.