Name: Lyn Genet Recitas
Business: Neighborhood Holistic, a Harlem yoga studio and holistic health center
Loans: 2 Accion USA loans, the most recent for $12,500
With its bright walls, African paintings, and traditional fabric tapestries, “Neighborhood Holistic,” a yoga studio and spa, captures the essence of what owner Lyn Genet Recitas calls the “bridge between old and new Harlem.”
“I wanted to create a welcoming space for all,” says Lyn, who began the studio with the help of her first ACCION USA small business loan two years ago. The business became profitable one year after opening and grew to employ twelve part-time employees. “Just as important,” she continues, “I wanted to create work for myself that was fulfilling.”
However, when the economic crisis hit Harlem in the fall of 2008, Lyn’s business was put at risk. Lyn had also used funding from a traditional bank to cover initial start-up costs, and that line of credit was serving as her cash cushion. In December, she received a letter from her lender letting her know that her interest rate on outstanding funds would rise from 9 percent to over 20 percent, doubling her cost of credit.
Initially, Lyn expected the worst. “I thought that I would have to cut my low-cost programs, which are so important to the goals of my business.” Then, she called her loan consultant at ACCION USA to see if she could obtain a loan to pay off her line of credit and provide the affordable cash cushion she needed to operate. Lyn qualified for a second $12,500 loan at an interest rate that she could afford, allowing her to keep her low-cost programs up and running.
Thanks to the help of ACCION USA, Lyn’s business is prepared to continue weathering the financial crisis, and Harlem won’t lose a community center and source for holistic health care.
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