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Small Business Loan Gives Urban Winery Leverage to Expand

The Blending Lab – Los Angeles, California

Three entrepreneurs needed working capital for new equipment and other needs, which they got from CDC Small Business Finance and a SBA Community Advantage loan…

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Magdalena Wojcik and Michael Keller had talked many times about turning their passion for wine-making into a small business, but inevitably they ended each conversation with: “We’ll just do it when we retire.” But multiple trips to wine regions around the world stirred their excitement until they could no longer put their dreams on hold.

“Why wait?” was the rhetorical question that motivated the couple to team up with friend Chris Payne and launch The Blending Lab, an urban winery in the heart of Los Angeles in late 2016.

Small business loan helps The Blending Lab grow

The Blending Lab owners (from left): Michael Keller, Chris Payne, Magdalena Wojcik

Long before the tasting room opened and before any income started coming in, they had leased a facility and purchasedequipment and grapes from Paso Robles, one of California’s more dynamic wine regions. That’s when their overhead started to climb and they knew they couldn’t grow the way they wanted to without an injection of cash. Their first two requests for a business loan were turned down by national banks. Then Michael met with a community bank that recommended CDC Small Business Finance, a nonprofit lender that then approved a $129,000 SBA Community Advantage loan. They used the business loan for working capital and to buy equipment and pay their facility lease.

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