UMEZ Provides Small Business Loan to Café Buunni

 Photo courtesy of Cafe Buunni

Photo courtesy of Cafe 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.

To learn more about UMEZ small business loans, click here. To learn more about Café Buunni, please visit their website, or follow them on Instagram or Twitter.


"One of the main challenges for small businesses is finding funding to grow, and this is exactly what the UMEZ-BRISC loan is helping us with. We will use these funds to purchase equipment and finalize construction on this long-awaited space. The GWB Bus Terminal will be Buunni's third location -- our first is on Pinehurst Avenue near 187th St, and our second location is in Riverdale, Bronx. One of the things we really appreciated in working with UMEZ-BRISC was the clear communication about requirements and loan process from the very beginning."

- Sarina Prabasi and Elimas Gurmu, Café Buunni

Press, Small BusinessUMEZ