When Frewoini Haile bought an East African restaurant in St. Paul’s Midway district, it had a steady clientele but was tucked off the main drag and wasn’t attracting new drive-by or walk-by traffic easily. While working with the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) to improve her business, they recognized her hard work and focus and applied for the MicroGrants’ investment, allowed Frewoini to get a grant for advertising flyers and a sidewalk sandwich board sign to increase her visibility.
Within a short time, business increased by 15%, a number that has stayed steady in the following months. Additionally, Frewoini has noticed new clients becoming regulars, including non-Somali Americans. This boost in customer base has also added to an increase in word-of-mouth clients.
“The grant made a big difference and came at the moment we needed it the most,” Frewoini said. “To reach even a 15% increase was a big deal.”
In the future, Frewoini would like to build her advertising, including City Pages and the Mpls./St. Paul Magazine. She also has a dream to reach out to single mothers in her community, who are struggling, and encourage them to follow their dreams.