Denver, CO - 3/16/21
Vice President Kalama Harris visits Maria Empanada in Denver as part of the "Help is Here" tour promoting the new American Rescue Plan, which provides almost $29 billion in grant funding to restaurants hard hit by the coronavirus. Lorena Cantarovici, the founder and CEO of Maria Empanada, hosted a roundtable with Vice President Harris and several small business owners in Denver. The group talked about the continuing challenges facing Colorado businesses and the important role the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan plays in supporting these hard hit businesses.
Lorena retells her own American dream story to VP Harris during a roundtable session. Lorena had a five restaurant footprint prior to COVID-19 with rapidly growing sales. The pandemic forced Lorena to layoff almost half of her entire employee base and shut down two of her restaurants. Lorena and her team pivoted to focus on off-premise sales and received PPP loan proceeds to bring back about 80% of the employee base. Despite the numerous hardships, Maria Empanada has proven to be a resilient brand and is planning new store openings in 2021 and beyond.
"In 2017, we secured Series A venture capital funding from the Colorado Impact Fund. This is quite rare for a female minority." -- Lorena Cantarovici, Founder & CEO of Maria Empanada.
Video of Roundtable from Yahoo News
Coverage from Colorado Public Radio
Video Coverage from CBS Denver