Chany Sot is the proud owner of Angela’s Boutique on Wyoming Avenue in the Feltonville neighborhood of North Philadelphia. Chany’s business was originally purchased as a dry cleaners, but she has recently decided to make the change to a wholesale and custom dress boutique in order to fill a gap in the goods and services offered in her community. Her dresses can be used as pageant wear, Quinciñera wear, prom dresses, and wedding dresses.
Chany is now the first Cambodian and the first business in connection to Esperanza to participate in the Kiva Zip program, an online program that “uses an entrepreneur’s network as a measure of creditworthiness. Borrowers invite family and friends to start their fundraising. After reaching a designated threshold, the Kiva Zip community takes care of the rest. It’s a simple, transparent way to help small businesses.”
“Currently, the store is set up as a dry cleaner and I have no space for the dress racks, dressing rooms, or display windows,” said Chany, “I am working with Esperanza and the City of Philadelphia to get the funds for these projects to help turn my store into a neighborhood location where people can come get affordable, beautiful custom dresses and suits.”
In order to make the necessary improvement and renovations to her business, Chany, with the help of Esperanza’s Housing and Economic Development department’s Wyoming Ave. Corridor Manager Tempest Carter, applied for the City of Philadelphia’s Storefront Improvement Program. This program covers the cost of up to $10,000 in renovations, but the funding is reimbursed, meaning that Chany and other business owners like her would have to have the funds up front in order to complete the project.
Kiva Zip helps business owners to raise the money that they need for special projects such as this in the form of small, no-interest loans from lenders across the globe. In addition to being a resource for ways to get funding to local business owners, Esperanza’s technical assistance has been key in getting Chany on her way to raising the money to revitalize her storefront. We hope that this is only the first of many business owners who will be able to take advantage of this opportunity to raise the upfront funds to participate in reimbursement programs.