Rebuilding Small Businesses in DC – One Investment at a Time – Washington City Paper | Candle Made Easy

When the Covid pandemic hit, Jose Reyes and his daughter Ana Reyes, owners of one of DC’s most prized restaurants for 40 years, El Tamarindohad to raise money to quickly build an outdoor seating area to comply with new social distancing guidelines and expand their kitchen.

The pandemic took a heavy toll on the district’s small businesses. early 2020, over 1,000 small shops closed; 2,300 by March 2022 impacting the owners, employees and communities that have relied on them. But like communities across the country, DC residents have banded together to support their favorite local businesses through takeout orders, retail merchandise pickups and even Go Fund Me campaigns to help them survive.

Seeing how committed the DC community was to supporting small businesses, the Reyes family decided on a unique program that would give DC residents the opportunity to invest directly in El Tamarindo – the DC Rebuild Bond program— where they raised nearly $102,000 from investors to complete the projects SMBX.

“Our partnership [with SMBX and the City] allowed us to see how important neighborhood brackets are to communities. Through these investments, we saw how deeply connected our customers were to El Tamarindo, but also that the larger community felt the same way,” said El Tamarindo owner Ana Reyes.

The DC Rebuild Bond Program is a partnership in between SMBX, the financial marketplace that connects skilled small business owners with everyday investors, as well as DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Deputy Mayor’s Office of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED). His goal is to steer $5 million in investments into the district’s small businesses. The program places particular emphasis on Districts 5, 7 and 8 – areas that have experienced economic discrimination and have been denied access to capital.

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