SAINT ANTONY – A new restaurant in San Antonio was invited to the White House to form part of a small business roundtable and speak to President Joe Biden.
According to a new report from the White House, small businesses are booming at a faster rate than ever. Businesses with less than 50 employees created 1.9 million jobs in the first three quarters of 2021 alone, and the Biden Administration attributes the growth, in part, to the more than $450 billion in emergency relief to small businesses including, The Box St. All Day located in the heart of downtown.
Co-owners Daniel Treviño and Chef Edward García III opened their first brick-and-mortar in December 2021. Business at The Box St. All Day is booming and recently caught the attention of the Biden Administration.
“(The visit to the White House was possible through) someone that I met about ten years ago — Olivia,” García said. “When I used to work and run the kitchen at Guadalupe Street Coffee, a nonprofit coffee shop on the West Side of San Antonio, she would visit the coffee shop often. So when the White House reached out to (the firm she works for to connect with) Latino (-owned) small businesses that had either opened or expanded during the pandemic, our name was thrown in.”
According to the White House report, in 2021, Hispanic American entrepreneurs had the fastest growth rate of new businesses in more than a decade and are creating new jobs.
García and Treviño said they started with a team of five and have since expanded to 54 employees. The team, including creative partner and interior designer Caroline García-Bowman, were invited to the Small Business roundtable at the White House last Thursday.
“It was so quick,” Garcia said about the visit. “We (got) in the car, flew to DC We met the president, bam, right back here for weekend brunch. It’s like, wait, what just happened?”
“We were able to really share with President Biden is not only we were able to be successful because we are a small business, but we were successful because, as Latinos, we always learn to persevere,” García-Bowman said. “To have the opportunity to have a candid conversation about the administration and the way that they support small businesses, and also to just talk about the economic relief fund and how that process was for us was super empowering.”
The city shut down the same day the restaurant’s loan was set to arrive. Plans to open were put on pause. Eventually, with no end to the pandemic in sight, Garcia-Bowman said they were forced to scrap the original layout for the restaurant.
“(We had to) think about if something like this would ever happen in the world again, how would we be able to be successful throughout something like that,” García-Bowman said.
One of the aspects that came from redesigning the space was the bar area. If ever forced to shut down again, García-Bowman wanted to have a counter space big enough to fulfill to-go orders for customers.
The team later sought COVID-19 relief funds.
“A big resource to us was LiftFund, which is a nonprofit organization,” García-Bowman said. “They made it really simple for us as a small business to know what opportunities and resources were available to us.”
The Box St. All Day team had a chance to share the struggles and triumphs with President Biden.
“We were able to kind of share, like, what was the process like applying for an SBA loan, other kind of relief resources and kind of talk through what are some other ways to make it easier for small businesses to be able to connect with those resources,” Garcia-Bowman said.
The group also had the opportunity to speak to a national SBA representative to discuss tangible resources available to small business owners.
“I think, for us, the impact is that we’re able to represent our community,” Garcia-Bowman said. “We hope that this continues to empower other small businesses in our community to really know that the administration is really working hard to try to find solutions.”
Currently Box St. All Day serves brunch from 9 am to 2:30 pm Thursday through Monday.
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