UMEZ Provides Small Business Loan to Café Buunni
In 2012, Elias Gurmu and Sarina Prabasi opened Café Buunni on Pinehurst Avenue in Washington Heights. Café Buunni is a place to enjoy a great cup of coffee sourced from a cooperative in Ethiopia that uses organic cultivation methods. Café Buunni has become a neighborhood staple, so much so that the customers worked the shop for a day so the owners could enjoy a vacation day. Mr. Gurmu and Mrs. Prabasi decided to expand. And, in 2014, they found the perfect spot to attract tourists and locals alike at the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal (GWB Bus Terminal).
In 2017, their project began to come together as construction on the GWB Bus Terminal was underway. Mr. Gurmu and Mrs. Prabasi came to UMEZ’s Business Resource Investment Service Center, Inc. (BRISC), a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), for capital to finance leasehold improvements. On October 12, 2018, Mr. Gurmu and Mrs. Prabasi obtained a $127,000 loan for improvements to the commercial space for the café as well as a takeout kiosk within the GWB Bus Terminal. We are proud to help Café Buunni open another location serving the Upper Manhattan community.
- Sarina Prabasi and Elimas Gurmu, Café Buunni