Owner, Bonnie Ruth's Café and Catering
Bought the business: 2006
About two years ago, I bought a small bistro cafe in the Dallas area. As time went on, I realized the people we bought the cafe from had painted a pretty picture for us. They did not disclose the true operating numbers. Needless to say, my husband and I found ourselves hurting for money.
We applied for an SBA loan and were given one for $50,000 in October 2006. However, that money has been used up. We didn't realize the little cafe would cost so much to keep it going. Now we find ourselves like everyone else, working just to make ends meet and pulling money from our credit cards. We don't want to lose the restaurant, nor do we want the 10 employees to lose their jobs. I am focusing on growing the catering business side to pay the bills.
We are a minority-owned and HUBZone-certified business. Trying to survive in these horrible economic times has been very stressful. I approached two other banks, but they won't talk to us unless we show a profit. We pay off our debts, and we paid off the SBA loan, but without another loan to help us push through, we've had to tap personal credit cards and family. I got $80,000 from my mother and $80,000 from my sister. That's caused a rift in our family because now my sister is out of a job and she needs that money back. She's threatening a lawsuit.
I have four children, a nine-year-old daughter and five-year-old triplets. We're strapped to say the least. I'd love to get a couple hundred thousand dollars to consolidate our debts -- right now we are paying so much in interest on our five credit cards -- and have additional funds to move forward. We're not quitters and I know that this business can turn around, but I really need the additional help.
NEXT: Stalled expansion